“Come on, D.!” J. shouts gleefully, charging ahead of his friend.

D. steps out onto the bridge tentatively, following after J. It’s one of those wobbly bridges found on a lot of wooden play structures, where each slat is connected to a chain that bumps and sways at every step.

“Waaait!” yells D., frustration mounting in his voice.

J. turns around and notes D.’s tortoise-like progress.

“Stooop!” yells D. “Stop shaking it!”

J. doesn’t move and doesn’t respond, just eyes the slats with interest. It’s as if it only now occurs to him that this bridge is shaky in some way.

D. turns and hugs the side rail of the bridge with both arms. He looks back, wondering if there’s a way to return.

J. doesn’t call out to his friend. He doesn’t say, “It’s not a big deal. Just walk.” He doesn’t give tips. He doesn’t run on. He just waits.

D. begins to whimper a little. “It’s shaking,” he says, tentatively placing his foot on the next slat while clinging desperately to the side.

J. doesn’t reply. He waits, watching, for another moment.

At last, D. begins slinking steadily sideways toward bridge’s end, inching his bear-hug-grip bit by bit along the railing.

When D. finally arrives within an arms-length, J. turns back around, satisfied. “Let’s go!” he cries, leaping forward, accompanying his friend to solid ground.

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