“But Belinda is old and she goes with boys, you would have got into trouble if anyone had caught you with her,” said Trudy.
At last it was time for the swim. All my worries just melted away when I hit the blue water. It was like swimming in a cement lake. And there were all sorts of people around. Teenagers melted together in bright colors and did wild jumps off the high diving board. This was a feat since I couldn’t dive at all and Trudy could just dive off the side of the pool.
“You know if they don’t land just right, they could break their necks,” she said.
“Hmmm that might be right,” I answered a little uneasy wondering about Belinda.
Then we became dolphins, diving, floating and kicking off to the bottom of the blue. This was definitely the best part of family reunions, the best part of being a kid. Before we knew it, the afternoon was finally spent as Trudy and I trudged reluctantly back to the family. I was sad because I didn’t get to see her much. In fact, I didn’t see many kids my age when I stayed with my grandparents.
“Think you’ll be able to come out before I go back home?” I asked.
“Don’t know. But my parents haven’t mentioned anything to me,” she answered.
“Well, maybe just for a couple of nights? Remember last time.”
“Yeah it was fun, it was scary too. Do you really think those coyotes were going to come closer?”
I thought about it. I remembered sitting behind the screen on the porch. Their eyes glowed green-gold in the darkness. The night closed in and they watched and breathed and waited. I could feel them creeping closer. They were hungry and wild and had no pity. It was survival, it was terror, it was being almost alone and deep, so deep out in the country.
“But your grandad said they don’t attack people,” Trudy said.
“Yeah, but he also said they will eat anything when they are hungry enough,” I said.
“But I don’t think he was talking about people. Do you think they would come any closer?” Trudy asked.
“I think they would. They come in looking for my cats or trying to get into the chicken pen,” I answered.
We came upon the old folks deep in conversation discussing their wills and how to live and where it was all going for the future.
“You take Edmond, now that boy has a good head. He’ll make something of himself someday,” said Uncle Paul.
“I don’t trust banks anymore,” said Aunt Unice.
“Well, you gotta change with the times,” remarked Aunt Dulcie. “But you can’t be like Agnes here, lost all that money with those investor people,” said Aunt Dulcie.
“Shall I worry about it?” asked Aunt Agnes. She was looking far away down the road.
“Humph! I should say not at this point,” answered Aunt Dulcie.
“Well little Irene, you gonna come tell us all goodbye?” asked Uncle Paul.
“Of course,” I said and tried to smile.
“We’ve got to hurry and get back because grandpa has trouble seeing in the dark,” said grandma.
Everyone said goodbye. I waved to Trudy with a huge sense of loss. It was back to the animals and nobody to play with. Nobody to watch with. Then we arrived at the farm just as the sun was going down and the little shadows of dusk threatened to overtake the world. We unloaded the car and I went around to feed the chickens. They were happy somebody was back to take care of them.
“Grandma, can we get some ducks?” I asked.
“We’ll see,” she answered.
I stood for a minute to look around and I caught a glimpse on the hill. It looked like a man. A big, clumsy man. I gasped. Maybe it was him, the one they called Bad Don. Had he come out at last to murder us all in our sleep? I looked again, but the shadow was gone. I raced into the house. I had spent a lot of time in the sun that day.