Leila walked out of Neverland’s a few hours later, carrying three new books. Marley never made Leila pay for any books, but she always left a few dollars in the tip jar on the kitchen counter before she left.
Leila knew the path to Neverland’s by heart now and she was confident in her ability walk there and back with her eyes shut without mistake. Her father did not know of Neverland’s and she hoped he would never, ever, find out.
When she was back in her bedroom in the apartment, she tossed the new books on her bed, making promises to read them as soon as she got the chance. She grabbed a water bottle and headed out on to the fire escape. She thought fondly of Marley and Aaron. Gaby had left a few years ago to go to college and she still came back every now and then but it just wasn’t the same. Leila still missed Gaby and wished she could see her more often, but as Marley often says: ‘life just gets in the way’.
Leila had been told by other students and by her teachers that she was strange for thinking so far ahead in her future. Leila couldn’t understand how someone couldn’t think about the future. So much needed to happen for everything to happen. But Leila could understand that not everyone had to make the same plans that she had to make. Everyone else didn’t have to make plans to travel far and wide as soon as possible. No one else had reasons to escape.