Willow chases after her baby brother, her long, dark braid whipping behind her caught in the cool breeze of the meadow. Little Odair runs ahead of her, his chubby toddler legs unsteadily maneuvering the ground. "Try this." Peeta says waving a plate of warm bread speckled with fruits and nuts in front of me.
I take a small piece and smile. "Thanks." The piece is amazing, deliciousness exploding in my mouth. "It's wonderful."
He smiles, and rushes back into the kitchen, where I know he is busy scribbling down the recipe. This is how he keeps the memories at bay. I hear a soft cry and look up to see Odair fall to the ground. Before I can even stand up Willow is at his aid. She kisses his knee and pats his back. She is every bit me, right down to her Seam coloring and stubborn streak. But there's something about her, a bit of compassion, a dab of humanity that I don't have. A piece of Prim. She would have spoiled them rotten. If it wasn't for the Hunger Games, life would be so different. What if Prim's name hadn't been reaped? Prim and I would have continued on surviving, poor but content. Would Gale and I be married? I think of us holding hands, sitting on the porch of some rundown house in the Seam, watching our kids catch lightning bugs in the front yard. But if I was never in the Hunger Games, that means I never took out those berries, so there was no rebellion. That means I have no children. If the games were still being played I wouldn't have had any children, to save them from a lifetime of reapings. A lifetime of watching the government slaughter their peers, their wide eyes looking at me for answers when I have none. If I hadn't been reaped I would have never met Peeta, Never been able to thank him for the bread. He wouldn't be "Peeta" to me, just the "the boy with the bread". I push the thoughts from my head, after almost losing him several times a life without Peeta is too painful to bare. As if he knows what I'm thinking, Peeta appears wrapping his arms around my waist just like he did that night on the train when he held me, trying to fight away the nightmares. He kisses my cheek and I sink back into his body, letting him support me as we watch our children frolic about, not a care in the world.