Original Wingman

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This is the story about a little girl and her Robin at the beach. 

This little girl preferred pigtails and skinned knees over frilly dresses and Mary Janes. She favored trees and man hunt to dolls and playing house, and her favorite Barbie was a little action figure Robin from the DC Comics with limited motion and the paint chipping off his face. She kept him in her pocket, and he knew all her secrets. She loved him. He trusted her. 

One day, her family went to the beach. She was very excited because she and Robin were sent on an important, top secret rescue mission. She knew she had to send in her best operative, so she did. She scouted the area, Robin did some recon, and when they found the target, they knew what they had to do. She buried Robin in the sand. 

“You’re going to be okay, Robin.”

I know I am, silly. It’s you.

“Of course it’s me. I’ll be right here the whole time. You just call out if you need me.”

I’ll get them out. I’ll save everyone. 

“You always do. Be careful.”

I don’t need to. I’ve got you. 

“Always,” and with that, she covered him. 

This is where it gets foggy. Somebody or something distracted her mid-extraction, and she didn’t dispute, for even as a girl, she wasn’t very contrary. By the time she got back to her mission, it could have been seconds, it could have been hours, and by the nature of the tide, and the nature of the ocean, and the nature of the magic of the sand crab demons underneath, she couldn’t unbury Robin. 

Now, it might have been a normal day, with the sun shining and the beach full, but in her memory, there was only a gray breeze and wet sand and chaos as her heart pounded in her ears and panic set in. She frantically dug through the sand, then methodically, then frantically again, then everything stopped. All sounds, mute. All thoughts, blank. Her breath stopped and started, shallow in her throat as she realized that Robin was lost. 

Her mother pulled her arm, forcing her to her feet. She reached out to him. She told him she was so sorry. She never said anything to her mother; she never told her, never could. The guilt was unbearable. She buried her best friend. She abandoned him in the sand. Alone. Forever. Lost.

Back at the house, she took her remaining two best friends, Blanky and Mutsy, into her arms. “I’m so sorry,” she said with tear-soaked words, promising she will never abandon them the way she did Robin. Twenty years later, ragged, ripped, and ratty, she whispers these words to them still. 

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