My winter wonderland (part two)

My winter wonderland… CONTINUED (Read My winter wonderland for part one):

Supper

I poked at my food. Across from me sat Luke, to my right at the head of the table was my father, and to my left at the foot of the table was my mother.

I was thinking about what had happened earlier when my father had told me that Luke was coming over. I had nearly lost my balance and fell off the bed by twisting around and sitting straight up at nearly the speed of light.

After that I had asked my father if there was no other way. He had said that my mother was planning a family supper and that Luke’s parents wanted a night together, and so the only course of action that would at least somewhat grant both of these wishes was for Luke to come over.

I asked if Lucille, Luke’s younger sister, would be coming over, too; my father had said that she was going over to a friend’s house for the night anyway. I asked why Luke couldn’t go over to a friend’s house, too. My father had replied sharply, “We are friends. And this conversation is over, Kacey.”

We had sat there looking at each other in silence for a while. Finally my father said softly, “I know you two don’t get along, but he really is a nice boy once you get to know him. So please, please, try and get along for just tonight.” I had sighed and nodded.

“Kacey, de—” my mother said, pulling up short on the dear when she saw the look I shot at her. I saw Luke snicker quietly. I think my mother did, too, for she tried again: “Kacey, aren’t you hungry? You’ve hardly eaten a bite.”

I thought about it. No, I didn’t want to eat with Luke, but I was hungry. Finally I said, “I’m fine Mom, really. I just was thinking about…” I paused, and my mother nodded encouragingly. “About today.”

My hide-out

The rest of supper was uneventful. My parents asked Luke about school, and he replied good-willingly, though I think that sometimes he over-exaggerated, like when he said that he was the most popular boy in his grade.

After supper, I headed out with a big, black trash bag. Luke stopped me and, trying to impersonate my mother yet be a little childish, said, “Kacey, dear, where are you going with that trash bag?”

I almost hit him as hard as I could with my free hand, but I resisted the urge and instead simpered, “Why, I’m going outside to play Barbies, and then, when the sun goes down and I have to come in, I’m going bring my Barbies in with me and play with them some more in the basement.”

This seemed to scare him off, for he humphed, held his chin high, and stalked past me to the living room. Probably to watch something, I thought to myself as I walked outside, breathing the cool fall air.

I rolled up the bag and tucked it under my arm. Then I ran across the yard to my tree house; then, careful not to drop the bag, I climbed up the ladder.

As I heaved myself onto its wooden floor, I looked around fondly. On all the other three sides were small round look-out holes. On the floor across from me was a toy barn with several toy horses and ponies in it. To my left was a portable CD player with head phones resting on it. To my right was a blanket and a pillow and some poles and ropes arranged so that I could pull back or take down the tarp that was covered tree house hide out. Underneath my body and across the whole floor was a rug that posed a scene.

The scene was of a fence with vines going up it and the grass spiking up in front of it. Looking over the fence was a chestnut mare—the same one I had been riding in my dream—and behind her was a clear blue sky with only a little white on the edges.

I sighed longingly, rubbing my hand across the rug fondly. The chestnut mare, Beatrice, had been my favorite ride back at the farm. I had made this latch-hook rug only less than a year ago as a memory of her. She was gone now, sold, hopefully to a kind family that would take good care of her.

I sighed again and got to work—I had no plans to leave my favorite stuff unguarded while Luke was here. I started by turning on the portable CD player and putting on the head phones, then I started to pick up make sure all horses were secure in their stalls and close the barn and put it into the bag I had brought.

So I worked. I started with the horses and their barn, then the tarp, the CD player, and finally the blanket, but I left out the pillow. After that I put the bag against the wall to the left of the entrance. Then I lay back, resting my head on the pillow, looking up into the sky. I stayed like that for a while, until the sun set.

That late evening

Finally, I added the pillow and the rug to the bag and climbed down with the bag and went inside.

Luke was watching the first Karate Kid movie, and my parents were talking about something in the kitchen. I sneaked past the living room and went through the kitchen, quietly smiling at my parents, who waved and continued talking. Slowly I opened the door and went down the stairs into the play room.

I went first to the music player and took out the I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas CD and put in it’s proper case. Next I went into my room and set the CD case and the bag on my bed. I shut the door.

I took out the pillow and slid it under my bed. Next I took out the rug and put it spread out on the floor on the far side of my bed from the door. I did the same with the blanket as I did with the pillow. I gently took out the sticks for the tarp and slid them even deeper under my bed. Next I took out my portable CD player, which I put on my bedside table behind my alarm clock. I set the head phones on top of the player. Lastly I put the toy horses and their barn on top of the rug.

I put my I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas CD in my portable CD player and set its case next to the player.

I stretched out on the bed and looked at my ceiling. After a little, I rolled over and unplugged the head phones from my CD player and turned the player on, then I rolled back over and relaxed.

Good news

The next morning I felt a surge of happiness as Luke walked home with his parents. Finally he was gone!

I walked back inside with my parents and fixed myself some cereal and a glass of milk, while my mother filed through that morning’s letters, mostly bills, and my father looked at the newspaper.

After breakfast, I ran down to my room and grabbed my wallet. I ran back up and called to my parents as I went out the door, “I’m going Christmas shopping,” and was gone before they could stop me.

I spent that morning comparing prices as the local store. I got a green sweater with a picture of a cat looking out a barn window on it for my older brother. I got a scrapbook and some scrapbook paper for my mother, and for my father I got a tool set. Then I checked out, remembering to smile at the check out lady, and went home on the bus, the same way I had come.

When I got home, I looked inside to make sure no one was in the kitchen. No one was. I hurried in and down the stairs to my room, where I put my gifts in my closet.

With this done, I went up stairs and declared I was home and that the presents were hidden.

My mother and father came out of their room and hugged me. I opened my mouth but my mother beat me to it, “You’ll never guess what came in the mail today! Your brother—”

My father finished her sentence. “Is visiting for Christmas!”

[To be continued . . .]

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