This is my bit after a few weeks of missing out on Picture It and Write!
No body wanted to play with me. They say they don’t have time for silly things, mommy and daddy were always doing big people things. They fight sometimes but only when they think I’m asleep, I think they don’t want me to know. I asked mommy if I can have a little brother or sister to play with but she looks at me funny, her face crumples but she smiles and says, “Honey girl, I don’t know about that. We’re happy that we have you, I know that you feel lonely but you have me and dad’s love all for yourself.” But that’s not true because they don’t have time for me anymore, but I like to believe that they do.
But I’d like to have a brother, I know he’ll like me a lot even if the other kids at school don’t. I will teach him how to make a stone skip in the pond at the park and I’ll show him how to play hopscotch and he’ll be my best friend. Miss Belle said the other children are my friends but they don’t make me feel like they really are, they tease me because I don’t talk much and it doesn’t make sense to me why they do that. Why does that make me a weirdo? I do have one friend, he’s my secret friend.
After school most days daddy drops me of at Nana’s. I wish I could live there all the time. She’s the only grown up who listens to me and answers my questions and never tells me to ‘go along now and play nice’ somewhere. Nana makes the yummiest hot chocolate and peanut butter cookies. She would hug me in her lap and tell me stories about her adventures in Paris when the big war was on a long time ago.
I’m over her house right now. The radio is on, tuned to an oldies station and there’s this nice song on, I think I understand what the singer went through when he was a kid like me. I ask Nana what’s the song called.
“Shilo,” she said, “It’s sung by Neil Diamond.” She was sitting by the kitchen window where the breeze blew in chilly breaths, breathing in the warm air in here and breathing out the cold. She was watching the the naked trees and the last bit of snow left before spring.
“Is Shilo his make believe friend?” I ask.
“Yep,” she smiled, Nana knew about my secret friend.
“Was Shilo a boy or a girl?”
“I don’t know, Mr Diamond didn’t say.”
“Do you think he would mind if I called my friend Shilo too?”
“No, I don’t think so but I feel he would like that,” she nodded as she said this, “I see the swing swinging out there, think it might be him?”
Maybe it was. I ran outside and plopped my butt on the washed out board and swung myself up. Nana was watching me from the window. After a while I stopped moving but when it should have stopped moving the swing kept on going. I knew it was him. He never told me his name, when I asked he said he doesn’t have one.
“Can I call you Shilo?” I asked, “It’s Mr. Diamond’s friend’s name, Nana said he wouldn’t mind if I call you that too. But is that okay with you?”
Silence. Then he answered, “That’s nice. You can call me that.”
“How was your day?” he asked me now.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Why do Easter bunnies have eggs? Mommy says that bunnies have little bunnies they don’t lay eggs. Where do they get the eggs from?” It beats me.
“Hmm, maybe they get it from Easter chickens,” Shilo panted behind me.
“Easter chickens! I never heard about those before, did the bunnies steal their eggs?” I wanted to know if these rabbits were scamps who pretended to be all nice and fuzzy.
“I don’t think so, I met an Easter bunny before and she seemed nice enough. What happens is that the Easter chickens are shy and they’re afraid too, because people will steal them to make them give their eggs all the time. So they ask the bunnies to share the eggs and that will make us wonder where they come from because everyone knows bunnies don’t make eggs!” he finished in one big huff. He was tired from swinging me and he leaned against the tree.
“That would explain it. Poor Easter chickens,” I blew my bangs out of my eyes and pouted. I wanted him to keep swinging me.
“I bet you can’t swing me high,” I teased.
“Oh yes I can!”
Shilo pushed himself off and stood behind me. I gripped the scratchy ropes real tight because I know he can. One … Two … Three! I shrieked as he sent me flying up up up. Everything was a blur, one big blurry soup where anything can happen. This was my most favourite spot in the whole wide world. That was all we did that afternoon until mommy came to pick us up.
Later she came to tuck us in. She pretended that Shilo was there, she really didn’t believe me. I could see it in her eyes when she pretend-kiss him before she turn off the lights. My eyes were droopy and the Bindi The Jungle Girl nightlight was becoming fuzzy and just then I remembered I didn’t brush my teeth. I pulled the covers off and walked out to the hall. That was when I heard them.
“George, we can keep doing this!” Mommy said, almost shouting.
“Then what do you suppose we do, huh?” Daddy shouted back.
“Leave … just leave us,” she said.
What? No. No, daddy can’t leave. Why is mommy saying that?
“Is that what you want? What have I done? I work hard to provide for all of us and this is what you ask of me?”
“What’s the use of you being around if you’re not here with your family? I call and you don’t pick up. Over and over. I won’t even ask if you’re seeing anyone, I don’t want to go there. If you can’t commit to us then don’t stay,” her voice was lower now and I can hear the tears in them.
“You … you think I’m cheating?” He sounded so mad. The something crashed on the floor.
I ran down the steps two at a time. What happened? Did they get hurt? I found mommy on a kitchen stool, her head was in her arms on the counter and daddy had his hands stuck in his pockets and was staring through the small window on the back door.
“Linny, how – ,” he turned then and he saw me. My hand grasped Teddy’s arm really tight and tried not to make the water fall out of my eyes.
“Are you going away?” I asked real quiet. I think if I talk to loud I would burst out crying.
Mommy got up then and they both looked at me like they didn’t know what to say. I saw the broken lemonade pitcher on the tiles, a million lemony pieces scattered about shining. Is that how we were going to be like?
“Honey, please listen -,” daddy started to say, but I didn’t want to hear anymore. I ran upstairs and slammed the door shut. I jumped on the bed and buried my head in my pillow and cried. I could hear them calling outside but I won’t let them in. Why did she say he should leave, she didn’t have time for me too. Why did they always have to fight?
After I heard the leave I sat up. My face was hot and I saw the window open with a woosh in front of me, bringing in fresh night breeze.
“Shilo? Will you stay with me?” I badly wanted to know.