Falling Off a Log
I looked around on the way to the house. Nothing different, except for the secret under the barn. This place, except for paint and stuff, hadn't changed since that first time I'd seen it.
I'd followed Scott on my bike, right up to the house, that first day I knew him. He fell while he was getting off, but didn't seem to hurt himself. I got off mine, and it fell into me, knocking me over. It must have been in a conspiracy with Scott's bike.
He yelled, "Mom! I'm back!"
A moment later his mother appeared on the porch. She was a tall, pretty woman with blonde hair, wearing a dress with dots. "Oh, who's your friend? And why are you all wet?"
"Mom, this is Joey. We go to school together and he plays the guitar!"
"Ooh, how nice. The guitar? I love the guitar."
"I only just started learning." I was looking at the ground and kicking a pebble.
"What's your last name, Joey?"
"Are you related to Sid and Sarah?"
"They're my parents."
"Oh. Then we know them. Old friends of Scott's father."
"Come on, Joey! You wanna see my cows?"
Scott had fingers all over my arm and shoulder. Then he just grabbed my hand and started to pull me away.
"Nice to meet you, Joey!"
Scott dragged me across the yard, then uphill through a meadow to a pasture. There were about fifteen cows, black and white ones, on the other side of a fence. Scott said, "Watch this!" and then began to sing. It was a song with no words, but not exactly humming either. He had a perfect little boy's voice - It seemed to be right on key.
As soon as he started to sing the cows looked up, then started walking towards us. He continued his little tune, and a couple of them started to run to him. In about a minute they were all next to the fence. It looked for all the world like he had an audience. They seemed very expectant. He looked at me. I looked at him. I looked back at the cows. Scott let go of my hand. I hadn't really noticed that he'd been holding it since the house.
He went from cow to cow, petting them, saying their names and telling me stuff about each one. I mean, I liked cows alright, I guess. I never thought they each had stories to tell, though.
A couple of birds landed on the fence about twenty or so feet from where we were. Scott said, "Look. Mourning doves! Shhh. Stay here!"
He moved a little towards them and they took off. He started to sing something different. They flew back to the fence. Closer to him. He kept singing, more softly now. Pretty soon more birds landed on the fence. They seemed to be listening to Scott sing. He kept moving closer to the birds. He got right in front of them and held out the first finger of his right hand. He was still making his little tune. One bird jumped on his finger, and he turned to me with a triumphant grin on his face.
"Are those pets or something?"
"No." The birds flew off at the sound of his speaking voice. "I just met them."
"How did you do that?"
"I sing to the animals all the time. They like it," then very shyly, "Did you like it?"
"It was cool! What else you got here?"
"A dog, a horse and some pigs. And barn cats, but they're not allowed the house."
"What?" he asked.
"You let pigs in the house and not cats?"
Scott pondered that, then, "Haha ... Haha. You are funny! The pigs have their own house. C'mon on, I'll show you!"
He grabbed my hand again. We headed back down the hill. Scott was leaning against me and we walked slowly this time.
"So, where's all your brothers and sisters?"
"Davey's prob'ly at baseball. The rest of them are around somewhere. Davey's my older brother. He's twelve. Then there's Janice, she's eleven. Then me. Then Mack, he's eight. Then Marcia and Ginny, they're twins and they're six."
"I've got twin brothers! They're fourteen!"
"Then there's Jane. She's only three."
"Must be crowded."
"Nah. It's a big old house. There's lots of room for us."
We'd gone around the back of the house. There was a good sized barn there.
"What's in the barn?"
"Hay up top. Cow and horse stalls down bottom. The tractor. Other junk. Wanna see?"
The big front doors were opened. We went in, and with the afternoon sun aimed right through the doors it was pretty bright inside. It was a great place. Don't ask me why I thought so, but it was a great place indeed! Scott showed me where the cows stayed, and the milking stuff, then the horse stalls, but he said they only had one horse and it was for working and not riding. There was a lot of machinery at the other end.
"Where's the hay?"
"Up top! Wanna see it?"
We had to climb a ladder to get into the loft. It looked like a million bales of hay up there, but there was lots of loose stuff on the floor. I jumped on a thick pile of it and laid down. Scott laid right next to me. He worked his arm under my head and we laid there together. Just two kids. I picked up a straw and started chewing on it. Scott did, too. A cat came over and curled up on Scott's tummy.
There was sunlight coming in through the loft door. From where we were, it was shining here and there, but we were a little shaded. Everything was kind of red, brown, gold and orange.
"So. You wanna be my friend?"
I could hear the cat purring on his stomach. I felt so comfortable. So warm. So Happy!
"Yeah. I wanna be your friend!"
Scott rolled towards me and kissed me on the cheek.
I was very happy. I had a friend. I felt complete. I turned and kissed his cheek. "We can be good friends. Best friends!"
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