Chapter 13 – A Time and Purpose for Everything

Posted on Sunday, April 17th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Bruce wasn’t at school the next day and I hoped he was all right, that his dad hadn’t come down too hard on him.  All the kids were coming up to me and patting me on the back, calling me a hero.  Even Mrs. Mitchell said congratulations and gave me a whole week of happy faces.  She also said I could take the rabbit home if I wanted.

Walking by Bruce’s house on the way home from school I saw him playing hopscotch with his sister.  I couldn’t believe he was playing such “a sissy game.” I didn’t say anything though.  I crept by as quietly as I could.

Mom made my favorite supper, Sloppy Joes.  She told me how proud she was of me again and started asking a whole bunch of questions, like how did I know where Nancy was. I told her, “something led me there,” and changed the subject.

I happily ate three Sloppy Joe burgers and was wiping my face and loosening my pants when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and was surprised to find Bruce, holding a video game still in the wrapper.

“I wanted to say thanks and give you this,” he said handing me the game.

“Wow, Speed City. Thanks” I said, looking at the ground and anywhere but Bruce’s face.

“Do you want to hang out for a bit?” Bruce asked.

“Uh sure, Mom, is it okay if I go out?”

Mom said it was okay, she would look after dishes tonight, so Bruce and I walked out toward the field in behind my house; the same one where we had raced a few days ago.

Bruce was quiet and he kept looking at me. “Trevor, I’ve been thinking about what you said. And I’m sorry,”

“Oh forget it,” I said, kicking at a rock on the path.  “I’m sorry I said all those things.”

“No, really.  I didn’t realize you felt that way and that I was acting like that.  Sometimes when I want someone to be my friend I kind of overdo it.  Because you were new I thought I had a chance.  I don’t have any friends, not someone I can hang out with.  I guess I push too hard.  I don’t know any other way.”

“Let’s start over,” I said. “Just no more shoving or pushing.”

“Sounds like a deal,” Bruce grinned widely.  “By the way… I was also wondering how in the heck you knew where my sister was?  Remember, we’re friends now, you can tell me.”

“Okay, but you’re going to think I’m crazy.”  It felt good to tell someone.  I explained what happened that day he “accidentally knocked me in the lake.”  I told him how Gabe saved me and how he has been with me ever since.

When I finished my story Bruce laughed “Come on, you expect me to believe that?” He dropped his eyes to the ground.  “I mean, that does sound nuts.  Where is he, how come I can’t see him?”

I looked around and Gabe was right beside us.  How could I prove it? “You can’t,” I said, “only I can see him.”

“Fine, okay,” said Bruce shaking his head, “It doesn’t matter I guess.  You saved her life and that’s all that counts.”

He bent over and picked up a stick off the ground and threw it.  Too bad he couldn’t see Gabe fetching it, he would believe. But wait a minute Bruce could see the stick!

I picked up another stick and told Bruce to watch the stick.

“Go fetch, Gabe” I called to him.

Bruce raised his eyebrows at me and shook his head again.  “Trevor, I said it was okay.”

“No, no, wait, really, he can do it.  Gabe, I said go fetch.”

But for some reason Gabe didn’t move, he looked up at me sideways.  What was he doing?  He knew what I was saying.

“Come on Gabe, please.”

Bruce turned and walked away.  I felt like I had let him down and I couldn’t understand what was happening to Gabe.

As Bruce reached the end of our yard Gabe ran in front of him and dropped a stick.  From where I was sitting I saw Bruce stop, reach down and pick up the stick, and look at Gabe.  He was petting him, and jumping up and down.  He could see Gabe. He could see him.  I stood up and ran over to them.  Bruce’s face was pink and grinning, as he patted Gabe and stroked his fine wings.

“Trevor, this is awesome!” Bruce said.

“Good boy Gabe” I smiled back at Bruce, I wanted to say I told you so, but I didn’t.

We stayed and both of us played with Gabe until it got dark.  It was so good to have someone else who could see Gabe.  Gabe and I walked Bruce home and all Bruce could say when he left was “awesome!”

That night though, Gabe didn’t sleep on my bed like he normally did.  He curled up in a ball on the floor, but he couldn’t seem to get comfortable.  He paced back and forth by the window stretching out his enormous wings. From time to time he would walk over to the edge of my bed and place his head down and stare up at me.  He panted loudly and it made me nervous.  Maybe he was sick.

“What is it boy? What’s the matter? Come here boy.” I called to him.

He came over and licked my hand and nuzzled his nose under my blankets.  He let out a whimper and walked back to the window.  He looked at the window and whimpered again and my heart sank. I knew what he wanted.

I got out of bed and hugged him as tears rolled down my cheeks and onto his velvety wings.

“No Gabe, no” I said firmly.  “You come and lay down.”

But he looked at me and whined.  When his eyes met mine they looked dull and dark, and inside my head I heard him saying, “my job is done, I must go.”

“No Gabe, I still need you.  What am I going to do without you?”

But I knew it was no use. Sadly I walked over the window and opened it.  I hugged him again for a long time.

Gabe hopped up onto the window ledge, easily balancing himself.  He bowed his head for a long time.  He looked at me and barked, then he turned and flew off disappearing into the night.  A single white feather floated in the air. A little breeze pushed it through my open window and I watched it land on the floor.  I picked it up and stood looking out at the night and the stars for a long time. How could I possibly get along without him?

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