Chapter eleven -Sniff, sniff, sniff

Posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

When Mom woke me up for church on Sunday I didn’t complain like I usually did.

I had never noticed all the angels before. At the very back of the church, the sun shone through a big stained glass window sending colours streaming through the air. They landed on some of the empty benches and onto peoples’ faces and shoulders.

Along the top of the window frame was an angel with wings spread. Its white robe and long blond hair seemed alive in the light.

There were statues of angels with hands pressed together, eyes closed and wings folded, guiding shepherds and looking down over babies.  These smooth bluish white stone carvings held tiny details; eyelashes curled and fingernails and toenails peeking out from sandaled feet.  I could feel the warmth of Gabe’s body against me and the thump of his heart.

Even Tara behaved herself; mainly because she spent most of her time sitting on the floor petting Gabe.

Leslie was waiting for me outside when we left.  I was used to seeing her in faded Levi’s with her hair pulled back, but today her hair fell in soft curls to her shoulders and her skin was shiny and pink.

“Hi Leslie” I said boldly.

“Hi Trevor,” she said, gazing at the ground.  “We’re all going to meet at the empty lot today and figure out something to do.  Do you want to come?  It’s only half a block down from your house.  And…maybe we can even go for a swim later.”

“Sure, there’s nothing else to do today.” I said.

I had to ask her something that had been bugging me for a couple of days.  “Leslie, I was wondering, what was in that note you were trying to pass me the other day?”

“O ya, it was a good thing you kicked it out of sight.”

“Uh ya, ya, that’s what I did. Was it anything important?”

“Well, it just kind of said,” she stopped, “well, that I, that I’m glad you moved here and I hoped that we could be friends, something like that.”

“Oh,” I smiled, “Ya sure, great.  Well I better go; I’ll see you after lunch.”

I could see Mom watching us with a big grin.

When I got to the empty lot kids were standing around talking.  I heard one of them say, “Oh great, here’s Trevor.”

Did they say “great”, and were they waiting for me?  Yes!  We decided to play kick the can.  I thought that game had gone the way of the dinosaurs, but I didn’t say anything.

They said the youngest person had to be “it” first, which seemed unfair because it was John and he was only six.  Bruce’s sister was there and I’m sure she was younger, but no one said anything.

Leslie motioned me to follow her and we found a super hiding spot up in one of the big oak trees.  We were the first ones to race over and kick the can. We couldn’t hide together after that because everyone complained.

When it was my turn to find everyone, it was easy.  I whispered to Gabe “go find,” and he sniffed everyone out before they had a chance to break free.  Bruce especially didn’t like being found and the next time we hid Bruce followed me and sat on me.

“What are you’re some kind of show off?” he said.

“First you’re a superstar at soccer and now you’re winning at everything.  Maybe I won’t be your friend anymore, I can’t stand show offs.”

That was it; I couldn’t take it anymore.

“What are you talking about?” I shouted.  “Friends? You think we’re friends?  You don’t even know what a friend is.  All you ever do is push me around and make fun of me.  It may be fun for you, but it’s not for me.  I can’t stand it, and I can’t stand you!”

I had finally said it, but I felt worse instead of better. I ran all the way home.

I went right up to my room mumbling and shaking my head.  I turned my stereo up loud and blocked out the world.  That is until Mom came in.  I guess she had been knocking on my door for a while but I didn’t hear her.

“Trevor?  Can you turn that down a bit please?  Wow, is your room tidy.  I couldn’t help but notice how good you’ve been lately?  I appreciate all your help, and you’ve been very nice to your sister. Is everything okay?”  She laughed.  “I mean it’s really great, but I was wondering if something was on your mind.  It’s like you’re off talking to yourself all the time.”

“Everything’s okay I guess.  I don’t have a lot of friends though, well there’s Leslie, but she’s a girl.  That’s different.  I don’t seem to fit in like I did at home.”

“It’s going to take some time Trevor.  You can’t expect things to be exactly the same as they were in Burnsmead.  Don’t worry; you’ll soon have lots of friends.”

I doubt it.

“And can you keep that music down a little?” she asked.

“Okay,” I groaned and turned it down.

When she left I turned it up again, and lost myself in the music for a couple of hours, and when I turned it off and heard sirens. They were close, real close.

I ran downstairs and asked Mom what was going on, but she said she didn’t know.  I had to get to the empty lot and see what happened.  I thought about Leslie.

When I got there Bruce’s face was puffy and red.  His dad and mom were there too talking to a policeman.  Bruce’s Dad kept shaking Bruce by the shoulders and telling him to stop being such a crybaby.  Bruce was trying hard not to make a sound but tears were rolling down his cheeks.

I looked around and saw all the kids clumped into little groups not saying a word.   I spotted Leslie and ran over to her.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“It’s Bruce’s little sister Nancy.  Remember she was here when we were playing kick the can.  By the way, you left in an awful hurry.  Anyway, we kept playing for a while after you left, then we went down to the lake, the next thing you know she was gone.  She never leaves Bruce’s side and it’s been over two hours since anyone has seen her.  We looked everywhere before we called Bruce’s parents.  Poor Bruce turned white as a ghost when we told him he had better go get them.  That policeman is Bruce’s uncle.  Usually you have to wait something like 24 hours to report a missing person, but he’s going to get everyone to start looking now.  She has to be close by.  We’re afraid that she might be hurt.”

I thought about how I would feel if Tara was lost and hurt. The crowd grew bigger with more kids and lots of adults joining in.  The policeman tried to quiet everyone down.  He explained that they were looking for a little girl; five years old named Nancy, and he showed us her picture. It seemed like everyone in the neighborhood was out looking; moms pushing baby carriages, kids on bikes, even a couple of police cars cruised the streets.

I tried to think where I would go if I was five and the big kids wouldn’t let me play with them, but I didn’t know the area well enough.  I looked in all the trees, and all the hiding spots we had used that day.  The adults concentrated on the lake.

If only I could help.  And then I remembered how I had found everyone when I was “it.”  I had the best sniffer and tracker in the city.  If I could get something of Nancy’s that Gabe could smell, I knew he could find her.

I looked for Bruce hoping he would have something I could use.  When I found him he was hanging onto his Moms hand.  His eyes were red and he was holding onto some kind of rag doll.  It had to be his sisters.

“Bruce,” I called and waved.  I felt badly for what I had said.

“Go away, remember, you’re not my friend,” he said in a shaky voice.

“No, Bruce wait, I think I can find her.  I need a piece of her clothing or maybe that doll.  Is it hers?”

“What are you going to do, sniff her out?” he asked.

“Well ya, sort of.  Come on I want to help. Trust me I can find her.”

Bruce shrugged his shoulders and handed me the doll.  It must have looked real strange because I held it up to Gabe and whispered “go find.”


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