She often asked herself why many times. Why was life so hard? Why was she alone? Why had her father left her this rooftop garden to care for? Why on earth had he built it so high? Every single day she had to climb three hundred and sixty five steps to keep that flower garden alive.
One day it dawned on her that maybe her father was wise in not explaining why he had made life hard. Maybe he had protected her from the international war that was raging around her by keeping her alone. The assignment of caring for that rooftop garden gave her a purpose and kept her thoughts busy. The long winding steep steps up to that garden had kept her fit and healthy. “One step at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time” he had often said.
Now that she was just about to turn three hundred and eighty years old she realized the war was long since over. The violence had ended. The damage that had been done had disappeared and green grass and flowers were flourishing. There were birds singing in the air. Then she heard a sound she had not heard for many decades – laughter. She peered over the roof-top and could see a group of people walking in her direction.
“Hey there! Are you Maisy Riley?”
Maisy was so surprised to hear her name spoken by one of these strangers. Fear rose within her and she found herself unable to respond or to retreat into her little home. She remained rooted to the spot with her knees shaking.
“It’s alright Maisy. The war is all over. You are one of the survivors. Only the peace-loving have survived. It’s safe now. Life will be so much better from now on.”
Maisy had not received a hug from anyone in over three hundred and fifty years. Now she received twenty three huge bear-hugs – one from each other survivor in the group that had come in search for her.