It was quite simple to hide from the early morning sun. All Paul had to do was pull down the shade gaining an opportunity for added sleep.
But his restless spirit had a most difficult time settling down. So, he decided to leave his bedroom and go downstairs to his sister's vacant room. Paul moved quietly from his bed, taking his blanket and feather pillow.
Bare feet dashed quickly before freezing toes changed his mind. He was silent as a deer not wanting to wake up Sheeba. Neighbors knew her protecting bark almost a block away. And Paul certainly did not wish to wake up mom and dad. They both needed their sleep on a Saturday morning.
At least Jo-Ann couldn't complain about him using her room. Sis began college in Prince Edward Island a few weeks ago. Not having her around was a real pain though. He hated to admit he really missed her. Paul checked over some family pictures she had hung up. Three seashells dangled on beads from another wall.
He remembered when she made those a couple of years ago. That was when everyone in the family helped build this room. He was still a kid then. Right now, it seemed so long ago. Jo-Ann's bed was piled with leftover clothes. Paul guessed they couldn't be fitted into her suitcases. Not even in three of them.
Where to place his tired head? Another hour of snoozing would do it. He noticed there was barely enough room on her bed to stretch properly. Mom and dad said they might have to stop feeding him if he kept growing.
Then Paul spotted the answer to his sleeping problem. In the corner of the bedroom were two large empty boxes. Being too large, they had been left behind. That was the way he sometimes felt, since Sis left, alone and forgotten.
Dad was always working on his woodpile then delivering one hefty load at a time to Truro for sale. Paul didn't mind helping, but he wanted to do fun-things, like hiking or canoeing or a little golf. Right now he'd be satisfied just going for a walk with his sister. And mom was busy with the Arts and Craft club in their Village of Bass River, so she wouldn't be around today.
No one seems to notice me anymore, Paul thought. But then, mom and dad must be feeling a little sad too, since Jo-Ann left.
The sun shone through the basement window, making sleep impossible. Paul turned off the bedroom light switch. But, it was still too bright. Then from the recesses of his mind a solution made itself known. He placed the largest box on the only uncluttered part of the bed. Then climbed in, taking his blanket and pillow inside. Reaching up, Paul pulled the top cardboard flaps behind him.
Now there was no shining sun to worry about. Nor any parents to wonder where he was. In fact he could remain in the dark box as long as he needed. At first it was quite uncomfortable, until he rolled into a ball, using some of Jo-Ann's sweaters as a mattress. The smell of perfume still lingered from her clothes and the aroma made it seem like she was close by.
Mom was probably lying in bed, wondering about all the housekeeping she had to perform at her neighbors today. Maybe dad was counting his money thinking of successful wood sales in Truro to pay off more bills.
Then he heard a loud "meow." It was 'Sport', his cat. Of course, the kitten would want to join him. Either let him or wake the whole house up with his persistent whining. "Get in you," Paul said, more than happy for the company.
Sport's purring was almost as loud as a motorboat. If only dad had bought the boat and ten horsepower uncle Richard wanted to sell. Think of the fishing they could have done on Lake Mattatall.
"Wishing's only good for wells," mom always said.
Paul patted his cat's head. He wasn't feeling so lonesome anymore.
He and Sis used to have barrels of fun together spending lots of times talking about things. Mom and dad never forgot the time he hit Jo-Ann on the shoulder. That made her really angry. But Paul still felt Jo-Ann deserved it for pinching him, even if she was sort of his best friend. When mom and dad weren't around, Sis listened to his problems. He told her about bullies at school. Even failing his tests when he forgot to study.
Sometimes he cried. And Sis held him the way mom did when he was just a little kid. He thought about their trampoline.
Dad bought it when Paul was nine. He was a lot smaller then, just the right size of little squirt for kids to pick on. Mom and dad almost fainted once when Paul and Sis were doing really high jumps and back flips. That's a fact. He could almost hear his sister still laughing. She has such a nice smile, just like moms. Both their eyes twinkle, like his cat.
Paul wondered if mom was up yet. The box was beginning to feel a bit cramped. Carefully moving one shoulder, he was able to jiggle around and almost turn himself into a tire. But he felt more like a caterpillar cocoon. During Health classes he learned about babies. And how they lay in a 'fetal' position, inside their mothers. Was he acting like a baby right now? He knew he really wasn't one needing special attention. It's just that he was a growing boy, with his own developing needs.
So what if Jo-Ann wanted to move away? He knew she had to if she wanted to get a good education. If only Prince Edward Island wasn't so far away. He wished she had gone to Bible Hill's Agriculture College instead of that darn old Chef School. Then visiting each other would only be an hour away by car.
He chuckled about the times he ran downstairs and pounded on Jo-Ann's door. Sis would scream, "Buzz off Paul!!" But he used to come in anyway and throw her covers all over. They often laughed and jumped on the bed, using it as an indoor trampoline. That's before dad finally gave in and got the new one. When they got older, that kind of fun ended. Sis needed to be by herself, to have her privacy.
Just like he needed some privacy right now.
He knew growing up was hard to do. But, he missed those fun things they did together. Paul sure hoped dad was getting up soon. It wasn't that Paul didn't like his own room. It was a great place. He had a nice library and good clothes. Even models of cars and tractors his parents gave him. Now he wanted a baseball glove to celebrate his 12th birthday.
Would Jo-Ann be able to make it to his party next week? He wondered. If she did, he promised himself to give her the largest piece of cake. Just then he heard a commotion. It must be 'Sheeba' or his parents getting up. Paul turned on his back and kicked open the box flaps.
"Surprise!" echoed from two people he loved most in the whole world.
"Mom! Dad! How long have you been here?" Paul asked.
"Only a few minutes son. We figured you'd be down here. We miss her too, you know." As if he was aware of Paul's thoughts, dad added, "We haven't forgotten you're still around."
Mom also knew how to make the sun shine in Paul's eyes. She boldly stated, "Your favorite breakfast, Blueberry pancakes is waiting!"
And dad placed the thickest icing on the cake. "Want to learn how to drive a 430 John Deere Loader-Crawler? After breakfast, of course."
Paul answered both questions with two jumping twirls. His sister's bed almost permanently bent in two. "Got to go now, Jo-Ann!" he yelled.
Then he raced mom and dad up the stairs.
* * *
Richard L. Provencher 2004
81 Queen Street, Unit 6, Truro, Nova Scotia
Canada B2N 2B2 Phone (902) 897-2344
Word Count = 1,342 for the above story.
Dear Readers: My wife, Esther and I, are pleased to share our Copyright work which you may use freely for non-commercial purposes. We appreciate all comments on our efforts. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for family and friends. Also learn to forgive.
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