Kindred Spirits

Isn't this a cool cake?
Isn’t this a cool cake?  Picture courtesy of trendland.com.

I attended another meeting of the writers group yesterday.  Sure love those guys.  I got to share some of the Christmas material I’ve been working on.  They helped me get some ideas for how to flesh out the different characters better.  I needed some objective feedback.

Last evening, a young neighbor of ours knocked on the door.  We thought maybe it was late trick-or-treater.  It was one of Zac’s friends.  He got locked out and needed to call his dad.  His dad planned to be out for awhile longer and held the only key.  I didn’t want the kid sitting out in the cold (especially on Halloween), so Jonathon asked the boy to come in.

He’s a little older than Zac.  Since Zac never goes outside anymore, he asked about Zac.

“How…is he?” he asked.

Happy to hear that somebody missed him, I explained a bit about homeschooling. I told him he was alright. Zac found it a steep learning curve to monitor his time and discipline himself to work.  It’s been a process.

“I wish I could do that,” our friend said wistfully.

This boy, let’s call him Jody, doesn’t like school much. Jody has a bit of a track record with school officials as well as Shelton’s finest.  He has problems at home, too.  His family is blended and mixed up, much like most of America these days.

As Jody and I talked, I realized just how personable he is.  When I first met him, he was…creepy. He had virtually no social skills.  He latched onto us like white on rice and would show up at our house at 7:00 a.m. of a Saturday morning.  He posed rather personal questions.  He would stay at our house all day, even when Zac would sorta hint that he should leave.  That didn’t endear him to us.  But over time, he’s mellowed and become a little more attuned to social cues.

Jody and I discussed school.  He didn’t like his school much.  He told me he likes German and English.  He enjoys writing stories.

“Well, then we’re kindred spirits.  I’m a writer, too,” I told him.

He perked up.

“I have stories in my notebook out on the back porch,” he said, excitement in his voice.

“Bring them over!  I’d love to read them,” I said.

He rushed home to get them.   He handed me a spiral-bound notebook.  I started to read the handwritten tale to myself, then realized he wanted me to read it aloud.  Brave soul!  I still cringe when reading my work aloud.  I started to read a tale about a hunter who chased supernatural beings when his dad called, telling Jody to go home.  He took the notebook back and said he’d come back tomorrow so I could read some more.

I found myself smiling, energized by the encounter.  Who knew?  To paraphrase the infamous words of Forrest Gump:  People can be like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.