Water splashed against the pebbles at his feet. I stepped closer, trying to quiet my footsteps. I watched his shoulders lift and sink with each slow breath. He seemed unaware of my presence as he gazed out into the landscape before him. I stretched my arm out, preparing myself for what was next.
“BOO!” he yelled as he sprang around to face me.
“Ah!” I fell back. The ground was not as soft as I wished. The man chuckled as he turned back to the pond. “Grandpa! That wasn’t funny! I was sure I had you this time.”
“Little bird,” he said, “your mother has been trying to catch me for years. She still seems to try, but she doesn’t pay attention to the earth beneath her feet.” He watched me as I sat beside him. “You are similar,” he smiled. His eyes always crinkled in the corners when he smiled. I pouted while slipping off my sandals and dug my toes beneath the first layer of pebbles. Each grayscale stone connected together to create one large mural. Each wave of water slightly pushed on the art piece, continually adding and adjusting its artwork.
“Grandpa?” I asked.
“Yes, little bird?”
“Why do you come by here?” My eyes scanned the landscape. “And for so long… is home really that bad?”
“Patience,” he said. I looked to the stick beside him. Firmly planted in the ground, a string lead to where it broke through the surface of the water. “Home is not a bad place. Sometimes you need to take time to see where you’ve landed throughout the day.”
“You and mom fight a lot,” I mumbled.
“She is my daughter,” he said. “Do you think I like everything she does?” I shook my head. “Do you think she likes everything I do?” Hot air puffed out my nose as I chuckled to myself. He questioned again, “Well do you?”
“Well, alright then.”
Looking at my feet, I hadn’t noticed him watching me. He nudged me with his elbow. “Your mother and I disagree a lot, but I love her. You disagree with her a lot too, but I’m sure that doesn’t mean you will be running away any time soon.” He turned to me, raising his large fluffy eyebrow, “Will you?”
“Of course not!” I spluttered, correcting my posture, puffing my chest and lifting my nose. “People who run away are scared and I am not a scaredy-cat! I’m a tiger!” My hands resembled clawed paws as I brought them to my face and squinted my eyes intimidatingly.
“Nice try, little bird, you still have a lot to learn.” As he stood to his feet, he pointed to the rod beside him. “Keep an eye on that until you’re ready to head back, alright?” I nodded as he turned to walk away.
“Oh, and little bird?”
“Don’t forget to look at what the land has given you.”
I furrowed my brows as I looked to my feet, gently splashing the surface as the image of my grandfather walking to the wooded path rippled. I laughed.
Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at