She was the picture of purity. Of innocence. Of grace. She had a beautiful child-like mind, filled with excitement and joy in life, and with insatiable curiosity. She wanted to experience all the world had to offer, and she was brave enough to do so. She knew if she was ever going to fulfill her curiosity, and reach some small kind of enlightenment, she would have to leave her ignorant little provincial town with its boring safe inhabitant who knew or cared little about the exciting scary world that surrounded them. With tearful goodbyes to mother, father, sister and friends she bordered the plane to take her to a school across the continent and didn’t once look back. Freed from her incessant protective shelter that unwittingly preventing any personal growth, her world opened up and flooded with everything new. New people, new senses, new culture. It almost went unnoticed when new values poured in with the rest. The transition from porcelain perfection flowed so smoothly even she could not pinpoint the moment she changed. It spread, black ink over flawless white. Her innocence was corrupted and twisted and her gentle naivety and ignorance were weapons against her as the weapons of the world took over. Poisoned and crippled she lost all sense of what she once was. Alcohol stole her intelligence, drugs stole her grounding and a combination of both allowed a unknown boy to steal her virginity. She was left weak and bruised and abandoned, but not alone. Out from the humiliating pain and influenced despair came something entirely unknown. A small, convoluted spark in the darkness. A little flame that grew and changed within her, taking up what was left of her battered resilient strength until it demanded her attention. And the shaking blue stripe told her it was a baby. This new dark world that she did not recognize or know shattered, and she was left floating in nothingness. She was lost, afraid, and in irrefutable despair. She was an outcast, ridiculed and pitied. Desperate, she clung to the knowledge that hurt as she was, there was one who was still weaker than her. There was one whose existence depended solely on her ability to live, and live well. The drive of the being inside her gave her the quiet resolution to pick her shaking form off the bottomless ground. With nowhere else to turn, she looked to her memories, dishearteningly seeking some resemblance of strength and shelter. Nothing in the recent past held any kind of reassurance but fuzzily in the distance, as though from some long-forgotten dream, a memory existed of clean, white, safety. A little town, ignorant and naïve. A small community of people who never sought excitement or adventure, and who were endlessly uncurious about the wide scary world that surrounded them. But people, nonetheless, who cared and loved her, who wanted to protect her innocence, but mostly to just protect her. This sanctuary was where she could go, away from the dark corrupting strangers, to grow the living awareness inside her body. She returned, prodigal, the arms of her family stretching out for miles to engulf her into their protective embrace. With loving tears and loving anger they accepted her brokenness, and carried her and her dependant through to recovery. There the two of them will stay, resting and growing in perpetual safety. Staying, at least, until the little testimony of caution develops its own sense of curiosity and adventure. It will, she hopes, learn from the story of its mother, and not seek to venture into the wide scary world until it is ready; until it knows who it is, and what it values; until it has locked the picture of purity deep inside itself, never to be overcome.