Day 3

Lila shook off her brother’s grip, gave him one of her famous puppy dog pouts, and stomped over to her favorite rock resembling a smoothed out chair. She chucked off her velcro shoes, balled up her socks, and splashed her toes in the lake. Alastair let her go. It was no use trying to pull Lila out of her moods.

Alastair and Lila moved to Colorado only a year and a half ago thanks to their mother’s sparkling new position at a research facility in Gothic. The initial uprooting of their everyday lives took some adjusting. The children had said their tearful goodbyes to the friends they had known for all of their short years. Alastair lost his favorite karate teacher and best friend. Lila lost her two only two friends who were able to tolerate her rapidly changing moods.

At first, Alastair was resistant when it came to adapting to this new situation. No matter how much his father enticed the children with masterfully cooked meals or how many times his mother pulled them aside for engaging pep talks, Alastair was determined to stay miserable and gloomy. He missed his life in Indiana. He missed his teacher. He missed his friend.

Actually, the only time Alastair did not feel conflicted about what he lost was whenever he and Lila traversed the forest and visited the mermaid waterfall. Maybe that was why Lila did not want other to see the waterfall. Maybe she hadn’t ;et go of Indiana. Of course, that no longer mattered now. It was too late. Gabbie, Ginger, and Zane could not unsee what they clearly saw. Even if they could, Alastair wouldn’t go back. This sharing of a treasured spot was his way of telling these three thank you for pulling him out of one of the darkest spots he had ever been in.

“Do you see this moss?” Zane hollered from the west side of the lake. He pointed to the bright green full clinging to a massive oak. “This only grows near water. It usually gathers on rocks. It’s weird that it’s on a tree.” Zane set down his backpack, unzipped the largest pocket, and pulled out a pad of paper. He started sketching the moss onto a clean sheet. The boy adjusted his thick glasses as he rapidly blinked his slanted brown eyes.

“Now we’ll never leave,” Ginger sighed. She plopped down next to Lila and flopped onto her back. The girl stared at the canopy of trees. “He’s going to draw for hours.”
“He can draw if he wants,” Gabbie chided. She took Alastair’s hand and guided him over to the edge of the lake. He immediately knew that his palms had become sweaty and was glad that Gabbie didn’t seem mind. Gabbie was nice like that. She was the one who went out of her way to draw him out of his shell.

“Do you remember knocking on my door every day?” Alastair ventured.

“Duh! I wanted to see the new kid,” Gabbie shook her head. “AND I wanted to play. Ginger spends all her time with video games and Zane doesn’t take his nose out from books until Mom makes mashed potatoes.”

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