Richard & Esther Provencher

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


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