Word After Word After Word – Chapter 4

   We sat in Evie’s bedroom, Evie hiding behind the curtain, looking across the yard to the house next door. A woman was moving things inside.

   “A new neighbor. She looks healthy,” said Evie. “She has short, curly, yellow hair. Actually, she’s beautiful,”

   “Not that it matters,” reminded Henry.

   “Of course,” said Evie. “My father doesn’t need a beautiful woman. Just a woman.”

   May and I laughed.

   Evie’s cat, Looley, came in, saw us, and hissed before he began to frantically lick himself.

   Evie’s brother, Thomas, came, too, carrying empty pots from the kitchen. He sat them down and began stirring each with a wooden spoon. The light came in the window and touched his blond hair. He was short and stocky like a rain boot.

   “Hello, Thomas,” said Henry. “What’s up?”

   “Soup,” said Thomas seriously.

   “Two pots of soup?” asked Henry.

   Thomas nodded as he stirred.

   “One is good. One is bad,” said Thomas.

   “Which is which?” I asked.

   Thomas looked up and smiled.

   “Guess.”

   We laughed. Evie smiled as her father came into the room to scoop up Thomas. He leaned down to kiss Evie on the top of her head.

“We’re going for a bike ride,” he said.

   “Look, Papa,” said Evie. “An interesting woman is moving in next door.”

   Her father leaned next to her to peer out the window.

   “Ah, yes,” he said.

   After they left, Evie smiled at us.

   “He said ‘ah’ – did you hear?”

   “Your father always says ‘ah,’ Evie,” I said.

   Outside, her father rode down the driveway, past our window, Thomas sitting on a seat behind him wearing a helmet.

“We’re going for a bike ride,” he said.

   “Look, Papa,” said Evie. “An interesting woman is moving in next door.”

   Her father leaned next to her to peer out the window.

   “Ah, yes,” he said.

   After they left, Evie smiled at us.

   “He said ‘ah’ – did you hear?”

   “Your father always says ‘ah,’ Evie,” I said.

   Outside, her father rode down the driveway, past our window, Thomas sitting on a seat behind him wearing a helmet.

   “I don’t have one thing in the world to write about,” said May. “My life is the same, day in, day out.”

   “You’re lucky,” said Evie.

   “You could make up something drastic,” said Hen.

   “Drastic?” said May. “Like what?”

   Hen shrugged.

  “Disaster. Violence. Alienation,” said Henry promptly. “I read those words on the back of an adult novel the other day.”

   “I don’t have any of that,” said May.         

   “How about this,” said Henry, frowning. “How about I push you. A little violence.”

   May laughed.

   “Do you see any kid stuff? Bicycles, toys?” I asked Evie, knowing that is what she was looking for.

   “Nothing!”

   Evie came out from behind the curtain and looked at us.

   “She’s single,” she announced matter-of-factly. “I know it!”

   “Evie,” said May, “what if your father doesn’t want a new woman?”

   May’s voice was so quiet that we all looked up. There was silence. Evie’s face was still and thoughtful. Finally, she picked up her notebook. She opened it.

   “I have a character anyway. Like Ms. Mirabel says.”

   She wrote something down.

   I looked out the window and watched the woman next door carry a box into the house. A cloud passed over the sun, darkening the grass and trees for a moment.

   “Her name is Sassy DeMello,” said Evie.

   “Sassy DeMello??!” hooted Henry. “What kind of a name is Sassy?”

   “Do you mean your character’s name or the name of the woman next door?” I asked.

   “Both,” said Evie. “I like Sassy. She looks a bit like a Sassy.”

   We burst out laughing, but Evie ignored us. She put down her notebook and walked to the window to look out.

   “What do you think?”

   “I think you are a very funny girl,” said Hen. “And probably you will be an amusing writer.”

   Evie turned to grin at Henry. She hadn’t smiled much lately, and we all smiled back at her. Then she got serious. It was a little like the cloud passing over the sun again.

   “But Henry,” she said. “This isn’t funny.”

   “I know,” said Hen.

    She has come here after a sad time. Sassy has left much behind: her home, her life, the friends who made her smile. The sun lights up her loneliness. But she won’t be lonely for long. I will save her.

    I will save my father, too.

                                            ————– Evie

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One response to “Word After Word After Word – Chapter 4

  1. I think you made a typo in the story. I think you repeated this part twice:
    ““We’re going for a bike ride,” he said.
    “Look, Papa,” said Evie. “An interesting woman is moving in next door.”
    Her father leaned next to her to peer out the window.
    “Ah, yes,” he said.
    After they left, Evie smiled at us.
    “He said ‘ah’ – did you hear?”
    “Your father always says ‘ah,’ Evie,” I said.
    Outside, her father rode down the driveway, past our window, Thomas sitting on a seat behind him wearing a helmet. “

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