In Pages in the Wind, Emily and Reid have a tender relationship based on mutual affection and needs. This relationship will become an important part of Emily’s life. Emily is drawn to Reid but her feelings for him are partially fueled by her vivid imagination and her need for a hero. The question is whether her imagination and desire for an escape from her abusive father will set her up for heartbreak. Reid is a match for her father in terms of strength, but is he really a young parallel to the father she is trying to escape?
Reid was mischievous and fearless, and Emily enjoyed the edginess of his personality. He loved Emily’s imagination and together they fulfilled a need in each other. Reid enjoyed walking on the edge, and testing the boundaries between right and wrong. His outgoing nature and need for excitement often got him into trouble with the adults in the neighborhood. He enjoyed pranks and was relentless in his search for new exploits. Emily easily spun fantasies to fit Reid’s love of heroism, casting him as the leading man saving the neighborhood from impending doom. Of course, every hero needs a villain and Emily would develop an elaborate tale to excite Reid and send him on a childhood adventure with Emily at this side.
Suddenly, Reid spotted a gallon of paint leaning against the side of a dumpster at the corner store. Reid grabbed the paint with the brush still sitting in the yellow paint and ran to the nearest house.
“Em, don’t you think this fence needs some paint?”
“What?” Emily replied even though she knew what he meant.
Reid laughed as he impulsively painted a large yellow face on the gate.
“Come on, let’s run!” Reid shouted to Emily.
As Emily turned to look at Reid, she felt a strong hand on the back of her shirt. She turned around to see a glaring adult, obviously irritated. Reid, far out of reach of the angry adult but within sight of Emily, turned around and retreated to face the scowling adult. Emily lined up with Reid, feeling like a criminal about to face a stream of bullets to pay for her crime. The adult directed his anger at Reid, demanding that he return the next day to re-paint the fence. Emily kept her face down, ashamed and politely listening and waited for her punishment. To her surprise, he did not address her, and turned and walked back to the house.
After they were away from the watchful eye of authority, Reid shouted about the unfairness of the punishment as he threw rocks in anger. Reid kicked the ground and shouted “how dare that asshole punish me!” He vowed to get even, as he aimed the last rock at the nearest target. Emily walked quietly with Reid, calmly agreeing with him because she knew that was what he wanted to hear. Inwardly, she didn’t understand his reaction. She wondered if she was caught in another world, where the rules were different, and the lines of right and wrong were blurred. Still, she didn’t understand his reaction. He did deface property. It wasn’t a door left open, a faucet left dripping, or a glance in the wrong direction. The punishment was not harsh; it was only an apology and fixing what he had defaced. To Emily it seemed like a gift not a punishment. She could pay back what she had witnessed, and not feel guilty. She wasn’t threatened, she wasn’t demeaned, and she wasn’t beaten. Emily glanced at Reid, relieved that he had settled down and regained his cheerful demeanor. She imagined what he would do if her father tried to hurt him. He was her hero, waiting for the time that he would confront her father for the atrocities that he had inflicted upon her. She looked down at the ground and the shadows cast by their bodies, and noticed that he leaned into her as he began to talk about what they would do the next day. She politely listened; never taking her eyes off the shadow of the boy that she knew would save her from a life of terror and helplessness.