The boy sat beside the stream
The voice interrupted her train of thought… again. Her head slumps forward accompanied by an exasperated sigh at the constant questions. “What is it, Mother?”
“I’m hungry.” The small woman with silver hair pouted. Her watery gray eyes looked piously at her. She gripped her shawl tighter around her as if fearing it would fall.
She took a calming breath, pushed away from her keyboard and smiled patiently at her. “You can’t be. You just ate.” She folds her hands in her lap to keep them from strangling her.
“I didn’t mean to!”
She closes her eyes for a moment and berates herself. “I’m sorry, Mother.” She stands and gives the woman an impromptu hug startling her.
“You’re angry. I’m sorry.” The woman starts shaking and turns to leave.
“Mother…” She lets the rest of her words die out as her mother walks away waving her hands frantically. She groans. “You’re such a drama queen.” She sits back at her computer and tries again.
The boy sat beside the stream watching his fishing line drift to and fro, the bobber occasionally jerking as a fish tried to decide if the bait was worth taking. It was the first weekend of summer vacation and he was enjoying it to the hilt. The sun was getting hot but it was still shady and cool under the big willow tree where he sat.
She reads this again and again. Rubbing her temples she pushes away from the computer. She takes only a few steps before coming to an abrupt halt. “Mother?”
The small woman bites her lip. She starts nervously plucking at her shawl. “I’m hungry?”
She looks at the clock and shakes her head. “I’m sorry, but it is only ten. You can eat in two hours. Can you see the time?” She takes the woman by the arm and walks slowly with her to the clock. “When this number says twelve, you can eat again.”
“Oh.” Her mother stands quietly staring at the clock for a few minutes. She is certain this will keep her mind off food for at least an hour. Her mother steps closer to the clock and whispers to it.
“Mother?” Her mother turns her gaze slowly to her daughter. “Are you okay? What did you tell the clock?”
Her mother shook her head and refuses to answer returning her attention to the clock. She watches her for a moment before heading to the bathroom.
The clock spoke, tic-toc, tic-toc. Her mother tilts her head and listens. She leans in again and whispers to the clock. Tic-toc, tic-toc, the clock responded.
The boy sat beside the stream watching his fishing line drift to and fro, the bobber occasionally jerking as a fish tried to decide if the bait was worth taking. It was the first weekend of summer vacation and he was enjoying it to the hilt. The sun was getting hot but it was still shady and cool under the big willow tree where he sat. He had a sandwich, an apple and a soft drink in his school lunch bucket so he didn't have to go home all day. He didn't even care if he didn't catch anything. It was wonderful just being free from expectations for a while. Still, it would be great if he could take home a nice string of fish to show off.
Willows of all sizes lined both sides of the creek, in some places making an almost impenetrable thicket. From one such thicket a few yards behind the boy avid eyes watched him as intently as he watched the bobber in the water.
She gasps. She was finally getting her focus back before this next interruption. “It’s just a story, Mother.”
“Well Clock wants to know who the boy is…”
“There is no boy.” She looks up at her mother in confusion. “Did you just say the clock wants to know?”
Her mother nods and smiles. “Clock also said it’s twelve and I can eat now.”
She looks over at the clock. “It is noon. Okay Mother, lets get you some lunch… and no more talking to the clock.”
Her mother stops and pouts. She walks to the clock and whispers to it again. She smiles and nods before following her daughter to the kitchen for lunch.