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HELLO AND BYE-BYE
by Richard L. Provencher
6/13/2008 / Short Stories
"Let's go shopping," mom said. "It will be fun."
Andrew's first shopping trip since moving to Truro!
YIPPEE! YAHOO! His feet hopped and skipped. All the way to Inglis Place.
"Okay if I let go of your hand?" he asked. Some new friends might see.
"I'll be right behind you," mom answered. She wasn't allowing her son out of her sight. No way.
"Can I be the guide?" Andrew asked. His short legs walked proudly. He lifted his head high. He didn't want to miss anything.
It was such a peaceful day. The sun was like a warm breath on their faces.
A man sitting on the sidewalk smiled and looked up. Asleep on his shoulder was a pigeon.
"Hello," Andrew said, wanting to be polite. Grown-ups in town are neat, the boy thought.
Behind him, mom stared. Her eyes almost popped out of her head.
"Hello to you too young fellow," the man answered. Then he got up and skipped away. The pigeon flew ahead of him, doing loop-de-loops.
Andrew's fingers waved, "Bye-Bye."
"What does 'young fellow' mean?" Andrew asked mom.
"It means you're a big boy," she answered. "Even if you hold my hand."
Andrew continued to lead the way.
"Now let's get you some school clothes," mom said. Their first stop was Margolian's. The Boy's section had steep stairs going into the basement.
Andrew placed his hand inside moms. "So you don't fall down," he said.
Squeaking steps began a singsong. "See what we have for you," they said.
"Shopping is fun!" Andrew shouted. It was good acting like an adult. When he tried on new clothes his eyes sparkled. He watched the saleslady wrap their parcels.
A raccoon ran across the counter. And the lady didn't even notice.
Andrew gave his best "Hello" smile. Behind him, mom chewed her nails. And she mumbled funny sounds.
Wait until his friends see his new duds! The grade one class will say, "You're a cool cat." And he would do a little dance around the room.
"Bye-Bye" he said to the sales lady.
Outside the store, Andrew saw two monkeys climb a flagpole. And right in front of the Toronto Dominion bank!
Three dogs and two cats had "bark-and-hiss" squabble. Teeth and fur soon hurried down the sidewalk.
He was clapping for the cats to win the race.
A deer pranced up and down the street.
The little boy was surprised everyone seemed to think everything was fine. Except for mom.
At first he kept saying only "Hello!" and "Bye-Bye!" But soon he added "Wow!" and "Yikes!" Visiting other stores was also fun.
His mom kept ducking and turning around. She didn't want any animals or birds to come too close. "They might bite me," she said.
Just then a chickadee landed on her purse. "Oh my," she gasped.
And when a huge crow tried it, she screamed.
Andrew's shouted, "Awesome!" Eyes grew wider at each new sight.
Every store had a different surprise. Shapes danced in store windows. Greeting cards flew around like butterflies. Fur coats jumped off their hangers.
Andrew's mother was barely able to whisper, "Time to go home."
"AWWW" Andrew moaned. Now the fun would be over.
His mother's legs were so shaky she could barely walk home. Her hat was turned backwards. And her favorite sweater dragged on the ground.
She was even missing one shoe.
"May I hold your hand?" Andrew's mom asked.
"But, that man said I'm a young man now," Andrew answered.
"Okay smarty pants. It's just in case I fall down," she said.
He held mom's hand tightly as they slowly walked home. Yes, she was very tired. At home, Andrew helped her to the couch.
It was no surprise to Andrew she was almost asleep.
Before she snoozed, he had to ask.
"Mom? May we go shopping again tomorrow?
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2004
Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
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