A movement in the woods catches my eye. There! On the path. Is that a ball of fire?
Fire in the woods? Oh, God! My parents! My toe catches on the deck the wrong way as I lunge out of the swing and end up on my hands and knees. The door is only a few feet away. As soon as I get my clumsy feet under me and reach for the handle, I hear Sky’s voice shout from the fireball, “Hey, Jewel!”
I turn to look at her, and she is aflame. Yellow and orange streaks shoot up through the glowing red nimbus of hair streaking behind her in the wind. She slides her bicycle to a stop in front of the porch steps.
“It’s a beautiful day, want to ride with me?”
I have never seen an aura like hers. It ebbs and flows around her body in shades of indigo, purple, gold, and yellow. Her head glows like a bonfire, made more vivid by the brilliant red hair. Rainbows play over her hands like miniature ribbons of an Aurora Borealis. Does everyone at school glow like this? I wouldn’t know since I never take Dad’s glasses off until I’m at home. I’ll remember to thank him for the monotone refuge they give me around people.
“Do you mind if we just sit quietly for a while?” I ask. My hands and knees are still stinging from the fall. Did she see that? I’m such a klutz.
In answer, she drops her bike, climbs the four steps to the porch, sits down and pats the deck next to her. I take a seat and we look over the meadow without a word. Silence has never bothered me, but Sky likes to talk.
“I didn’t mean that so literally, you know,” I say. “We can sit and talk, or do something else if you want.”
“Don’t worry about me,” she says. “You feel calm right now. When I first rode up, you looked like you were scared out of your wits! How are your hands?”
Oh, so she did see my clumsy act. “About that,” I start, but she stops me.
“No worries. I startled you, but it’s a bit hard to understand how a little thing like me can be so frightening.” Sky smiles and her eyes twinkle. Really. I see that they’re deep blue with silver flecks, like a Carolina sky peppered with tiny sentinels. I glance up. They’re both still there.
“Sky, why do you think we have the same unusual shape of eyes?” The question pops out of a place where too many questions have been bottled up lately. I feel a blush rush up my neck and turn my face almost as red as her hair. Is it okay to ask something so personal? I have no idea how friends are supposed to act. That’s what years of near complete isolation, outside of my parents, has done to me.
When I look at her, the smile is gone and she’s staring at the trees.
“Jewel, is there any way that you’re different from most other people? Other than being my friend, I mean. Why do you wear those glasses all day at school, and why aren’t you wearing them now?”
I guess it’s okay to ask personal questions, then. What does she mean by that “friend” comment? I’ve never seen anyone with as many friends as Sky seems to have.
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