Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Vera. Vera had a best friend named Delilah, and the two of them loved to go on adventures together- almost as much as they loved one another, which is to say, quit a bit indeed.
One day Vera said to Delilah, "What sort of adventure are we going to have today, Delilah?" and Delilah said, "I do not feel like adventuring today, Vera."
"What do you feel today, Delilah?" asked Vera.
"I feel very tired, Vera. And of course I feel love that I love you."
"That's okay, Delilah," said Vera. "We can just sit quietly together, because I feel that I love you, too, and that's enough adventure for me."
The next day, Vera said to Delilah, "What sort of adventure are we going to have today, Delilah?" and Delilah said, "I'm afraid I am still very tired, Vera. I think I am sick."
Vera threw her arms around Delilah and said, "That's okay, Delilah. We will sit quietly together for as long as it takes for you to get better."
And that's what they did for a long time, but Delilah never seemed to feel any better. Then the day came when Delilah said, "Vera, I think I am ready for another adventure, but I need your help."
"Oh Delilah!" said Vera. "You know I will help you any way I can. That's what best friends are for! What sort of adventure are we going to have?"
"We must find the Rainbow Bridge," said Delilah, "and I must cross over it."
"What's on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge?" asked Vera, for she thought it sounded like a magical adventure, indeed.
"New adventures," said Delilah, "and old friends, and many other wonderful things. And most importantly, once I cross the Rainbow Bridge, I won't be sick anymore."
"Well that sounds like the perfect adventure for today, Delilah. Here, lean on me and we'll get started."
Delilah did lean on Vera, and although Delilah was very heavy, Vera never once complained- although she did have to take breaks to rest. This is because although she loved Delilah very, very much, she was only a little girl, and no one- not even the strongest grownup- can be leaned on all the time. But eventually the two of them found their way to the foot of the Rainbow Bridge.
"Oh my!" said Vera. "It's even more beautiful than I imagined- but it's so very long that I can't see the other side! How long will it take us to cross it, Delilah?"
"You cannot cross it, Vera," said Delilah, "Because it's not your time yet. But I will cross it very swiftly indeed, once I am on it."
"What?" said Vera. "What do you mean it's not my time? How will you cross if you do not have me to lean on? How will you get back?"
"That is the magic of the Rainbow Bridge," said Delilah. "Once it is your time, the Bridge itself will give you the strength you need to cross over. But Vera, you must understand- once I have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I cannot cross back. I will be on the other side forever."
"Oh no!" said Vera, "I don't want you to go, Delilah! What good are adventures without you?" and she began to cry.
"Don't cry, Vera. I love you so much that I will stay if you really want me to," said Delilah, but her voice was sad, and Vera could see how tired she still was. And Vera remembered what Delilah had told her, about how she would not be sick once she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and Vera knew she could not ask her friend to stay.
"You said there are old friends on the other side?" Vera asked, wiping her eyes.
"Oh yes," said Delilah. "Friends I have not seen in many years. I have missed them since they crossed the Rainbow Bridge, just as you will miss me."
"But they're waiting for you?" asked Vera.
"Oh yes," said Delilah, "Just as I will wait for you."
"And you'll have new adventures together?"
"Oh yes," said Delilah. "And I will tell them stories about the adventures I had with you, and they will like that."
"And, and will you tell me stories about the adventures you have with them, once it is my time?" asked Vera.
"Oh yes," said Delilah. "But you must have new adventures so that you can tell me stories, too."
"I will!" said Vera. "I will have as many wonderful adventures as I can, so that I can tell you many, many wonderful stories once it's my time!"
"I will like that," said Delilah, and gave her friend a kiss. "I love you very much, Vera."
"I love you very much, Delilah," said Vera, and threw her arms around her best friend one last time. Then she kissed Delilah on her brow, and stood back to watch as Delilah stepped onto the Rainbow Bridge.
Vera kept right on watching as Delilah stood up straighter than she had for a very long time, and began to walk with a lighter step. And soon Delilah was running joyfully, faster and faster towards the unseen end, and Vera suddenly realized how much her friend must have been hurting, and she knew she had been right to let her go.
Soon Delilah was out of sight, and Vera had herself a good cry, because even tho' she knew Delilah crossing the Rainbow Bridge had been the right thing, it still hurt to say goodbye to her friend. And once she was done crying, she splashed some cold water on her face, and turned for home, because she knew her mother and father would be worried if she stayed gone too long. And she also knew she must get a good night's rest, for tomorrow would bring a new adventure, and she must be ready for it.