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FIRST AID by Ann Coffey

Chocolate. Band-aids decorated with unicorns and superheroes. An old Polaroid of a fond memory with loved ones. A bottle containing the smell that conjures someplace that fills you with warmth and the feeling of safety. A small music box that plays a refrain of the song that makes your chest ache. The favorite childhood stuffed animal that you thought you’d lost, in miniature form. Dried flowers from someone you adore.


Each object carefully packed into the vibrant red bag, its waterproof fabric protecting them from harm. Worn hands zip it closed with careful purpose before tracing the white letters stitched onto the front flap. FIRST AID. Another kit done, ready to be sent.


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A doorbell rings. Someone in plaid pajamas and a tattered robe pokes their head out, looking up and down the street in curiosity and confusion. Seeing no one, they step out onto the porch and stare down at the small, nondescript box with just their name scrawled in all caps on the top. They scoop it up, tucking it into the crook of their arm, and slip back into the house.


The box is laid on the kitchen table. Moments pass before shaky fingers open the box. Were their fingers always this thin? A first aid kit, a little over the size of a deck of cards sits in a nest of tissue paper.


Unzipping the kit seems like unzipping the numbness. Tears that spill down soft cheeks feel like the first shaky steps new fawns take. It hurts and uplifts and devastates and renews. It heals.

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