“No, it’s mine!”
“You always say that. I wanna turn!”
“It’s too heavy for you. You’ll drop it!”
“Will not! Momma says girls are just as strong as boys.”
“Momma’s wrong about this one, Marebear. Besides, it’s my job!”
“But I want to hold the world! And I’m gonna tell momma you called her a liar!”
“And then what? You know she won’t be home for ages.”
“Then I’ll tickle you until you give it to me!”
“You wouldn’t dare! You know what that would do.”
“Fine! You want to hold the world so badly, I’ll give you a turn. But if you drop it, you’re gonna be in a whole lot of trouble.”
“I won’t drop it. I promise. Thank you thank you thank you.”
“Okay, come over here. Hold out your arms – just like that. Now here it comes. It’s heavy, so be careful.”
Mary was, indeed, too small to hold the world on her back, but Atlas didn’t let her – or it – down. In the process of shifting it around, the climate changed and dinosaurs started becoming extinct, but the world didn’t fall.
“I’ve got it! I’m really doing it!” Mary’s voice was bursting with pride. She couldn’t see his hands pressed into the sides of the planet, keeping most of the weight off her shoulders. It was harder to hold it this way, but worth it for her sake.
“That you are, little one. That you are.”