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String Theory

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard!” my brother shouts back across the yard. “What are we, toddlers?” he growls.

“Look, you can get all hung up in the details if you want, but people say it works. I mean, what is the harm in trying?” I shouted back.

He plops on the ground in defeat waving me to go ahead as he rolls his eyes. He might be right, no therapy in the world can help that attitude.

I looked down at the can in my hand and followed the string across the yard attached to his. This might be dumb but nothing else had worked so why not. We couldn’t keep going the way we are now. I sucked in my breath and just let it all go. I screamed and hollered and bellowed and cussed and blamed and sent every feeling I had about our childhood down that string. The stunned look on my brother’s face said it all as I felt the tears fall through my hysterical laughter. I pointed at him, “Your turn.”

I watched him shake his head and then start. Initially he shouted random nursery rhymes, poking fun at our little experiment. But then something in his face changed and the words that followed were terrifying and sharp. He said it all out loud. Even some I had never known. He set the can down and slowly walked toward me.

“Well, maybe not that stupid.” he said.

“I never knew.”

“You never asked.”


Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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