“Let’s go Harold,” I said to my loyal dog. It was a hot day at the beach.
“Don’t go too far Charlie,” shouted Mom. I waived to her.
“I love you too Mom, I’ll be alright.”
Harold and I walked along the beach quietly kicking the odd rock and splashing the water against the gentle waves of Spanish Banks. On a rock, by the water there was a seagull. “She looks friendly,” I said to Harold who acknowledged with a shake of his head. Harold is not too chatty.
“Hi, I’m Charlie Moore and this is Harold, what’s your name?” I shouted to the seagull as we approached.
“Hi Charlie Moore and Harold, my name is Lilly. Are you enjoying this beautiful day?” she said with a smile.
“We came with Mom and Dad to play in the beach. What are you doing?”
“Oh, just taking it easy, looking around,” said Lilly.
“I’ve always wanted to fly Lilly, I wonder how does it look from the sky?”
“Ha! Charlie Moore it’s different, you dominate the whole world from up there.”
“Do you think you can teach me how to fly?” I asked as I raised my shoulders.
Harold gave me a look of disapproval.
Lilly looked around and then looked into my eyes,
“It’s easy if you really want to fly, I can teach you how!” said Lilly.
“Yippy!” I jumped a few times and then I sat beside Lilly. “What do I need to do to fly like you, Lilly?”
“First of all you need to rub your face in my chest with your eyes closed.”
I kneeled and put my face in her chest. Lilly extended her wings and hugged me, a flash ran up and down my body and It felt like Lilly was covering my whole body with her wings. It was calm, smooth and sweet smelling like my Mom. Something was different. She opened her wings and said.
“Stand there on the sand,” she pointed with her wing.
“Do you know where the wind is coming from Charlie Moore?” she asked.
“Yeah, I can feel it in my face,” I yelled jumping up and down with my eyes almost closed.
“Open your arms, like wings and lean forward,” she said.
“Now this is what is most important,” she said in a lower voice.
“How bad do you want to fly Charlie Moore?”
“I want to fly Lilly, I want to fly!” I screamed.
“OK, keep facing the wind with your arms open, close your eyes and think hard, put your thoughts in your belly. Don’t open your eyes until I tell you. Do you understand Charlie Moore?” she said as she walked from one side to the other. Harold looked interested.
“I get it Lilly, here I go…” I took off really easily, I felt I was flying. I opened my eyes and plunged into the water.
Lilly laughed and held her belly with her wings. Harold ran into the water to get me.
“Are you OK Charlie Moore?” he barked at me.
“You are always getting into trouble, what is it that I am going to do with you Charlie Moore? ”
The water was not that cold, and Lilly wouldn’t stop laughing. Three seagulls, friends of Lilly’s came to the commotion, they landed nearby squawking loud. She looked at me seriously.
“Come here Charlie Moore, this time do what I say! Do you agree? I’m having a great time with you guys,” she said and continued laughing out loud. The other seagulls stopped squawking.
“One more time Charlie Moore, face the wind, stretch your wings, bend down a bit and concentrate hard with your eyes closed thinking that you can fly! Now Charlie Moore!!” She shouted with a commanding voice. Harold took his place close to Charlie and the other seagulls followed Lilly’s instructions as well.
I got in position, closed my eyes and put all my effort in wanting to fly. I felt my feet leaving the ground, the sensation of flying was cool. I kept my eyes closed. I felt the other seagulls flying beside me but I didn’t want to look. I don’t know how long I was flying when I heard Lilly whisper in my ear. “Open your eyes Charlie Moore, don’t be afraid of the height, just enjoy the flight.”
I slowly opened my eyes, my belly felt empty and my body shivered for a second or two.
“Just fly Charlie Moore, there is nothing to be afraid of, I am here with you.” Lilly sounded like my Mom. She was flying right beside me looking into my eyes, giving me confidence. Everything looked different, smaller, I could see much more than from the ground, like a different world. I was over the water, high enough that I saw on one side the beach I left behind moments ago, the trees, the houses, the roads, the people, all together. I looked until I found my parents, I wanted to shout at them but I didn’t, I knew that it was not going to be good if they saw me flying with Lilly!
“How do I turn Lilly?” I asked.
“Simple, lean to that side and you will turn, to go down, gently lean your head down. Watch out, going down you gain speed and we don’t want to fly that fast just yet Charlie Moore.”
“Yes Lilly, thank you. This is fantastic, I am having so much fun,” I said with goose bumps in my arms and legs. I started turning to one side and then to the other. It seemed easy. I tried going down, I went really fast. My eyes began to water from the wind so I lifted my head up to slow down. I was doing really well.
“OK Charlie Moore, our first lesson will end with a landing. Now listen to me carefully, landing is not as easy as taking off. You need both eyes wide open so you don’t crash into the ground, you need to go down and reduce your speed at the same time, it’s tricky in the beginning but with a couple of landings you are going to be an expert Charlie.”
“OK,” I said.
“One more thing Charlie, follow me and you will do exactly what I do, understand? Ha! I almost forgot to tell you, we always land against the wind. Can you tell where the wind is coming from Charlie?”
“No, not really,” I said with concern.
“Easy, just look at the trees, the branches, the ripples in the water, anything you can see moving with the wind. This time just follow me.”
Sunday, February 27, 2011
It was Saturday after lunch when my parents took me downtown to look for a new place to live.
“We are going to see open houses,” they told me.
That’s strange, I thought, open houses? What does that mean? The doors are open? Houses can’t be open… what is this idea, open to what? I don’t always ask many questions, my dad gets upset really fast and I don’t like that. I didn’t want to move, I was happy where I lived. After a boring drive we arrived downtown. It was horrible, full of tall buildings and people walking fast from one side to the other. Nothing nice about it, nothing like our neighbourhood.
Why did my parents want to live downtown? It was a mystery to me. I got my courage and asked, “Why do we want to live here? It doesn’t look nice to me. Where am I going to play? There is only super tall buildings and no yards at all!” My dad was pulling me by the hand, he turned to me a little bothered and said, “You are growing fast and soon you would not like to pay in the yard, you are going to hang out with your friends and such, besides there is a nice park a couple of blocks that way for you to go with Harold and play ball,” giving me a not nice look. We were walking really fast and I was having trouble keeping up.
We stopped at a huge building and after some ringing on the wall telephone we got in. I didn’t like the ride in the elevator. It was my first ride in an elevator. It looked quite shiny and when the doors closed, I felt like I was trapped in a space shuttle. The smell of the elevator was new to me. How can I describe this? Metal, rubber and I don’t know what else, definitely elevator smells that worked perfectly with the sensation of the ride. I felt climbing but couldn’t see anything moving, it was a weird sensation. I felt like I was going to throw up so I slipped my hand in my pocket and touched Betty, who was coming along. As soon as I touched her fur, I felt relieved. Betty wouldn’t allow anything bad happening to me. The feeling changed suddenly, I felt light and then the elevator stopped. The door opened silently and I walked out comforted.
We walked through a hallway to one of the doors, interesting, I thought, so many doors. What are they all for? My dad let my hand go and knocked on one of the doors. The door opened and a loud man’s voice that talked like a woman greeted us, I was pushed in first and ordered to take off my shoes. I sat on the floor while my Mom and Dad were walking into the apartment leaving me at the entrance. Will was the name of the man. Mom told me that he was the agent. I wondered what kind of agent he was, like a secret agent maybe? The agent was wearing black from head to toe, and he looked like a vampire, with that long black coat and red scarf. He was talking and talking, quite loud, showing this and that to my parents who looked speechless. I took Betty out of my pocket to show her around, she had not had much fresh air since we left home.
I was very careful to hide Betty from my parents, especially Dad, they get aggravated when they see her. I went skating on the soft, smooth wooden floor of the apartment. My warm wool socks were perfect for that, it was a good feeling, like skating. Sometimes my parents would take me skating. I love skating, it is so much fun to go around and around as fast as I can. Mom and Dad are the best in the world they can skate backwards, they hold hands and dance while going around the ice. I follow them around and copy what they do. Skating and skating I ended up in the living room where Will was showing every detail of the place and talking about how good the place was. Boring, it’s just a boring place, cold, and no garden to play in. I skated over to the window and Woooow! Spooky, I was high up, I had never been that high in my life. I stepped back fast, scared at first and then when I my heart slowed down I crept back to the window. Wow! It was cool to look out from up here. Everything looked so different. I couldn’t wait to show Betty the view. I took her out of my pocket and put her on the window sill. Betty had her eyes wide open, “this is high,” she said. Will was talking and talking and moving his arms and hands like my Mom does, he was behind me with his loud funny voice and all of the sudden I heard him screaming, “Ayyyyyyyyy!” I turned around and saw Will grabbing his coat with both hands and putting it over his face. He looked terrified! He had seen Betty, who at the sound of the scream jumped up onto my shoulder. “Ayyyyyyy! A monster spider is on your son’s shoulder!” he shouted as he ran away. Both of my parents were astonished with the scene. Backing up to the living room wall, they looked perplexed.
I was frightened by all the commotion. I looked around to find the danger and Betty quickly climbed back into my pocket. I looked at my parents whose faces had changed from surprise to anger. They tried to calm Will by filling him with apologies and nothing to worry abouts. Will looked to be in disbelief. I quickly put my shoes back on and walked to the elevator. Dad gave me the looks and Mom told me that I wasn’t supposed to bring Betty. I failed one more time to explain to them that I brought Betty for my protection.
We walked a few blocks and then stopped at another building. I was getting used to the scenery. We climbed into an elevator again, this one was different. It had nice shiny wood and golden trim, wow rich people must live here, they even have gold in the elevators! The smell was also different, a mixed smell of cigars, magazines and nice cologne, like the one my Dad’s boss wears. The ride up was pretty much the same, uncomfortable, my stomach was not feeling great. The hallways in this building were much wider and elegant, for sure only rich people lived here. I will tell my friends that we are rich.
This time a woman agent opened the door, all of these agents must be rich too. They dress so nicely and wear so much jewellery, they smell good and they are so friendly. She put her hands on my shoulders and said, “What a nice boy you are. You must be 8? Do you like toys? Come with me,” she said, directing me down the hall without giving me time to answer. My parents followed. It was heaven, a room full of toys. I looked around, I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed a Tonka truck and started playing. “Keep Betty in your pocket,” whispered Mom, giving me a rub on the head. There was an airplane, a helicopter, baseball gloves…I wanted this place. I couldn’t resist showing Betty this place, I looked over my shoulder, nobody around so I reached into my pocket for Betty. We had a wonderful time in this place, checking this and that, I couldn’t decide what to play with, and I needed more like a week here. “Charlie Moore,” I heard my Mom call, “we are leaving, hurry up hun.” “Are we going to buy this place Dad? This place I like, it’s the best” The agent looked happy, and so did Mom and Dad. They thanked the woman agent and we left for another ride in the elevator.
“Are we buying this one Dad? Because I like it a lot!” I exclaimed. Mom gave me that sweet look, “We are just looking hun.” I love my Mom, I held her soft hand. Everything here was much the same, a thought crossed my mind, what would happen if I got lost here? I wouldn’t know how to get home. We kept on walking, I was feeling tired and dizzy. After a few blocks we went into another building. There was a bunch of people waiting for the elevator. One more time we jumped in. The elevator stopped and some people went down, I looked around to find Mom and my heart jumped in my chest. Mom and Dad were not in the elevator. I stayed in the elevator until everybody got out, I wasn’t afraid. The elevator went down on its own and at the first floor I got out.
I looked around for my parents, I still couldn’t see them. How do I get home now? Nobody seemed to care that I was lost, people were walking all around me, not like at home where everybody knows me and asks me what I am doing. Different! I reached into my pocket and told Betty that we were lost. “Nothing to worry about Charlie,” she said, “I know how to get there but it would be better if we find your parents first, they must be missing you.” It didn’t cross my mind that my parents would be missing me, I thought that they were only interested in looking at apartments. Oh well, Betty must be right, let’s get back into the building and wait for them in the lobby.
I pushed the door and it didn’t open. I couldn’t reach the enter phone, I was too short and I didn’t know the buzzer number. I looked around waiting for a miracle and there, the door made that electric noise and a man went in and so did I. I followed him into the elevator. “Which floor are you going to young man?” he asked. “I don’t know, I came with my Mom and Dad, they want to buy an apartment downtown.” The elevator stopped and the man took me by the hand, “come with me, I’ll help you find your parents. Let me first take my groceries inside and then I will help you.” He looked like a nice man so I followed him in. His apartment was different, it was dark and quiet. There were piles of books laying everywhere. “Can I use your bathroom?” I asked. “Of course, make yourself at home, I’ll be ready in a minute and then I’ll help you find your parents.” I went to the bathroom, it was big and grey, piles of books there too. It smelled nice, like books that smell nice. I came out and the man was still busy in the kitchen. I went to the living room and looked out the window at the scenery, it was fascinating. “I’m ready,” he said in a soft voice, “do you like to look out the window?”
“My name is Sylvester,” he said, “what is your name?” offering me his huge hand. “I am Charlie Moore,” I said shaking his hand. “How come you have so many books all over your house?” “I like to read,” he said, grabbing his chin. “I like to read,” he repeated. “What else do you like?” I asked since he looked like a nice person. I sat down on a chair close to the window prepared to listen. “Well,” he said, “I like to write books, I like animals, birds, I like to fly…” “I like to fly too!” I burst out, “do you know I can fly? I can talk to animals too!” he looked at me intrigued. “Are you afraid of spiders?” I asked, “I have one in my pocket and I promise you she will not do anything to you.” He looked at me with a sweet face and said, “Take it out.” I got Betty out of my pocket and placed her on top of a pile of books on the coffee table in front of me. “Her name is Betty, she is from the Amazon.” Betty looked Sylvester and said, “he can’t hear me, he’s a grown up, but he’s a good man Charlie.” Sylvester was not afraid of Betty as most people are. “I always wanted to have a spider friend,” he said. “Tell me more, how did you meet her?”
Sylvester was interested in Betty and my stories! He stood up and said, “Charlie, we better look for your parents, they must be worried about you. Betty jumped up onto my shoulder and crawled into my pocket as she always did. “Can I come to see you again Sylvester? I want to tell you about my adventures.” “For sure, let’s go find your parents,” he said. We took the elevator down to the lobby, and there they were, Mom and Dad, talking to people nervously. “Mom, Dad!” I shouted when I saw them and I ran to hug them. It wasn’t that I missed them or that I was afraid, it was more for them because they looked afraid. I grabbed Mom’s hand and said, “This is Sylvester, he’s my friend and helped me find you.” Sylvester was standing with a nice smile. Dad said thanks to Sylvester. “I want to come to see Sylvester again, can I come Mom?” “Of course Charlie,” she said with wet eyes and hugging me as usual.
On the way home, I told my parents that Sylvester was not afraid of Betty. And also that he couldn’t hear Betty speaking, just like them. I was tired, I fell asleep in the car.