"That evening, Sal said goodbye to Mrs. Beatle and Ralphy at the Denver station. She was thankful for the kind, travelling companion and the little boy who had worked his way into her heart. Mrs. Beatle gave her many admonitions about staying clear of strangers—especially bad-looking men—and the supper roast, which she was sure had gone sour. After a few hugs and a little snuggle from Ralphy, Sal sent them off with a wave and a blown kiss for the boy.
Back at home, she had been used to goodbyes—a small kiss on Pa’s cheek in the morning and a flutter of the hand to Ma as she headed out once more to work wonders in the community. But those farewells were always given with the knowledge that they would come home again. Maybe it would be later into the night than she would have hoped for, but they were there, and she felt security in knowing that.
With a lump in her throat, Sal realized that goodbyes took on a whole new meaning now. She hadn’t even said goodbye to Pa or Ma—hadn’t been given a chance to. Her heart constricted and one tear, then another, coursed down her face. Her hand still waved even though Mrs. Beatle and Ralphy had turned a corner out of her sight long ago.
Jerking around quickly while hastily wiping her tears, Sal saw Ella leaning on her crutches with the fading sunset behind glistening on her black hair. A gentle breeze swayed her violet, calf-length dress.
'Sal, will you sit by me now?'
For just a moment, Sal felt a flash of anger at the girl for not noticing the pain she was in after parting with her friends. But when she perceived the drawn look on the child’s face, she put her own feelings behind her and pasted a smile on.
'Yes, of course. We have to stick together now…now that I’m alone.' There was a little catch in her voice, but she crossed to where Ella was standing and placed a hand on her shoulder. 'We’ll make the rest of the journey pass in no time. You just wait and see.'"