I like to visit my neighbor.
She lives in our apartment building. Upstairs. The third
floor is hard to climb sometimes.
But I don’t mind. My name is Benjamin. I’m six.
Mrs. Graham is nice.
She walks all bent over. Dad says it’s because Mrs. Graham is old. But I say it’s because she points a lot.
I bend over too when I point at birds in my back yard. “Mom-Dad. Two more.”
“What kind?” they ask.
I know they want to learn. “Now mom, you have to remember. Chickadees,” I say.
“Right,” she answers.
I’m smart too. Mrs. Graham says so.
She likes it when I take her for a walk. She walks slowly.
And we talk.
She says I’m a good boy. “And good boys deserve a treat,” she says.
Peanut butter cookies are my favorite. “Yummy,” I say.
Today we talk even more than yesterday. She gets like that sometimes. Talk-Talk-Talk.
“When I was a young girl…” All her stories begin the same.
But when I listen, her eyes light up. They are like fireflies at night. I know. My parents took me to the cottage last summer.
Mrs. Graham wants me to listen to her. “Polite boys don’t look away,” she says. So I listen. And I look at her.
“My first son looked like you,” she says. “You also have dark hair and bushy eyebrows. And long legs, just like my Kevin.”
I like to hear her talking about her son.
“Where does he live?” I ask.
“He went far away,” she answers. And I can see a tear. So I don’t ask any more questions.
”Time to walk some more,” I say.
“Yes, and talk-talk-talk too,” she answers.
I listen, about her house in the country. “Packs of fireflies came at night, and the stars were always bright,” she says.
“Oh, the times my husband and I canoed on the river.” She looks at me. And smiles.
“We had cows to chase. Then played on grass, greener than my crayons.” She finally took a breath.
“I have a whole stack of crayolas,“ I say.
“Ssshh,” she whispers in my ear. “I had so many birthday blessings,” she says.
“Now I want to thank you,” she said.
It was time for me to go. Supper was waiting. Mom too. And dad must be home from work.
Mrs. Graham gave me a huge goodbye smile.
She also gave me a bag of grapes.
© Richard & Esther Provencher 2016