Close your eyes.
When you do this, do you see all the darkness around you?
It is black. It is empty, and there is nothing there.
Now open your eyes again.
This time, take in everything around you. The light, the colors, the shapes, and details.
Could you imagine losing these sights forever? How would you feel if your life was becoming a world of black?
In the book, The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti, ten-year-old Mafalda’s life is turning into an endless tunnel of blurs and darkness. Due to degenerative eye disease, Mafalda’s eyesight is slipping away. She is noticing the decay of her eyesight more and more each day. It won't be long before Mafalda's life will be surrounded by darkness.
She needs to make a plan for her future, and fast.
Mafalda decides that the best solution for her loss of eyesight is for her to run away. She has a plan. Mafalda will move into her favorite cherry tree. There she can live alone, just like her favorite character in a story. All Mafalda needs now is to make her preparations, gather her needed supplies, and pick the right time to make her getaway.
Through the love of Mafalda’s parents, an encouraging school janitor, and unlikely new friend, Mafalda’s plan for running away starts to fall apart. None-the-less, she fears for her future as she looks into the unknown of the darkness just ahead of her. The last thing she wants is to be a burden to those around her, and she knows her blindness will change the lives of those around her just as much as it will change her own life.
Not only that, Mafalda's fears are constantly resounded by the noticeable decay of her eyesight that she recognizes. It doesn't take much for Mafalda to know that the distance between her and her beloved tree is dimmer and dimmer. Soon, her tree will only be a memory, as well as all other things Mafalda has grown to love.
The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree is a powerful story of a young girl's fears. She is scared for what lies before her, and my heart aches for her rightful worries. I cannot imagine what would go through my mind if I knew I was about to lose my eyesight forever. As you read this story, you will ache right along Mafalda as her worst fear comes closer and closer to being her forever reality.