Chapter 4 Oak Tree
I try to forget about the bad things that happened today. And try to think about the good things. My mom is always trying to teach me how to meditate. She says my mind is too busy, that I can’t calm it down. She can tell when things are not right, and she burns incense and I find little healing stones all over my room. I have a huge shoe box full of them. I don’t have the heart to tell her they don’t work, so I just keep the box of them in my closet. Tonight, I really want to try to meditate. I want to remember the dreams I had. I can feel them so close to my heart and in my mind, but I can’t remember enough to reach them.
“Opal,” my mom says as she knocks on my door. “Are you ok?” She comes in and sits down on my bed next to me.
“I’m ok, ” I say, “Just a long day. My legs really hurt, though I don’t know what I did.”
My mom stands up and puts her hand to her mouth.
“What happened?” She asks worried.
She pulls a few stones out of her pocket and puts them on my body like chakras.
“MOM, what are you doing? Stop. Please, I just want to lie down. I’m so tired.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie; but you never tell me anything. Tell me one thing about your day and I’ll leave you alone.” She sits on my bed.
“Well, I got a secret note in my locker.” I give her my half grin as I pull the note out of my pocket. She tries to grab the note. But I slipped it under my pillow just in time. Then she tickles me to get me to let go. We are laughing so hard that Dave comes in the room and when he sees her tickling me, he joins in.
“What are we doing?” He says, laughing as mom tickles him.
“We’re trying to get a note from her, Opal got a secret note today!” Mom shared. And points under my pillow. That I’m sitting on with all my might.
“Aww a secret note, huh! Is it a secret admirer? I bet it’s from Miles.” Dave laughs and grabs the note from under my pillow.
“NO! PLEASE DON’T! Don’t read it” I plead.” I don’t even know who it’s from.” I look at Dave with worried eyes. His big smile turns to a frown and then back to a smile and he hands me the note.
“Thankyou!” I take the note and hide it back in my pocket. “I’ll never tell you anything again MOM!” I grin.
“Just relax. I’ll put on some meditation sounds in the living room to help, ok? Do you want something for the pain in your legs? I have a healing tea that might help. Will you drink it? It will work and make you feel better.” She runs her hand through my hair. “I’m sorry we were just joking around.” She looks at Dave and he is still grinning. I roll my eyes at him.
“If it will make you feel better, Mom, I’ll drink it, ok?”
She picks up the stones that fell on the floor and looks around the room quickly.
“Ok, I’ll be right back.” Dave waves as he follows her out of the room. He is still laughing.
“Nice parenting skills guys! Really nice!” I yell at them.
Mom comes back shortly with my tea and sits next to me until I drink at least half of it. I can’t even look at her. She is staring at me up and down, making sure all my pieces are together.
“Thanks, Mom,” I say, handing her my cup. “I’m really just want to go to sleep now.”
“Ok, sweetie, get lots of rest. I’ll see you in the morning, ok?”
The sounds of the meditation music are like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It’s a beautiful orchestra of sounds. I can’t explain them, they are healing and nurturing and tranquilizing. I reach into my pocket and unfold the note. I unfold it and read:
I just wanted to say it was great seeing you after
All this time. I’m taking a photography class
and would love to take your photo.
Maybe at the Zoo?
See you soon, Jon
I’m surprised Jon would leave me a note. Agg I hate getting my picture taken. I really like Jon but he is making me think about Miles and so much has happened today. My stomach is churning. Is this what they mean by butterflies in your stomach? I’m thinking about my day, seeing Jon this morning was surprising and euphoric it made me dream I think although I can’t remember my dream but I feel different. I think about lunch when Miles kissed me on the cheek. And at the zoo when he caught light from the sun. I’m slowly remembering all the drama, poor Vi. I put on comfortable shorts and a t-shirt and I put the note on my dresser. Listening to the meditation music, I feel tired and not as heavy, almost as if I could float away. My eyes are so heavy they close and I drift to sleep. The music fades behind me as I drift further into sleep.
I feel someone watching me. I open my eyes and miles is sitting on my bed. He startles me for a second. I usually wake to him staring at me on the weekends, but I knew he was coming tonight to talk about what happened with the bear.
“Hi.” He whispers. “Shall we?” Not sure how long he has been watching me sleep, I smile softly and hold out my hand. He hands me his hand and he pull’s me from my bed and walks me over to the window. He holds me, just like every other time we have done this, his arms around my waist, I pull my feet up to my knees. I notice the biceps on his arm forming as he pulls up on the window to open it so we can get through it. He has me in one arm and he reaches for the oak tree limb outside my window with the other and we gently swing over to it. He pulls me up with one arm while holding the limb then he pulls himself up when his arm is free. He makes sure I’m safe sitting in the tree and he stares at me. I notice the moon out of the corner of my eye. It’s a half moon directly above us it has a blue tint around it like it’s hiding out from the stars.
“You went to the nurse today?” He looks off to the moon. And I look back to him.
“Yes, I was so tired, I fell asleep in class. It was super embarrassing.” He looks back at me and pulls a piece of hair from my face. Checks on me from feet to head like he always does. I smile and look at him, making sure he is looking at me in the eyes.
“You held the sun in your hands today?” I ask, not breaking my stare and hoping he doesn’t break his.
“I didn’t hold it.” He gives a breathy laugh. “I syphoned it.” He takes off his glove he always wears covering his palms and there is a mark of a sun on it. I touch it, it is raised like it has been burned on his hand. He takes off his other glove slowly and turns his palm over. There is a light coming from it. When my eyes adjust from the brightness of the light, I can see that it looks like a crescent moon. He holds it down to the grass. It shines like a dim flashlight. I take his hand and touch the light. I run my fingers across the crescent moon shape and the light disappears in my fingers then reappears when they cross over it.
“Ok.” is all I say. I look back into his eyes and give him a soft smile.
“Ok? That’s it? You ’re amazing.” He says. “But also, naïve.” He shifts himself on the limb of the tree to stand up. He pulls off his jean jacket that I’m so familiar with as I’ve worn it many cold nights, and hands it to me. He takes his double sided ankle knife from his ankle belt wrapped tight to his leg and holds it up, pointing it at the moon. The blue tint around the moon turns brighter and a sliver of light shines down like a connection to the knife and the moon itself. A straight lighting bolt without the thunder, without the rain, without the dark clouds. His entire hand brightens and the knife with two blades on each end grows. It elongates into a bow, an archery bow. He pulls his arms down to his waist and his back bends, his chest toward the sky, his head lifted and he is wincing in pain. I reach to him and put his hand down to block me. His head forces forward and his back hunches over his black shirt, rips and metal is coming from it slowly and urgently. It looks like blades, sharp blades I see blue thick water leaking from them, dripping on the ends. Blades continue to fight their way through his back, through his shirt until they are free. Miles holds his head up and back straight. The blades on his back form into beautiful metal wings. They are sharp and shine in the half moonlight. I reach out to touch them, and he stops me.
“They will cut you.” Is all he says.
“Does it hurt?” I ask intently.
“Not too much.” He says looking at my every move, waiting to see my reaction. Though I’m not giving him one to wait for.
“Why do you have these?” I ask, worried about him but intrigued.
“I am a slider fairy.” He glances at the moon for a second and looks at both his hands. He tightens them until they form fists. And he laughs. “I have been waiting since the day I met you to tell you what I am. But I couldn’t.” He reaches for my hands and pulls me up on the tree limb. His arms around my waist, holding me tight but gently against his chest and he asks, “Do you trust me?”
“I do.” I don’t know why I trust Miles, but I always have. He pulls his wings back and jumps off the tree before I think we are about to fall. We glide over the grass. At first, I have my eyes closed, scared but excited. Are we actually flying? Smoothly, we glide through the wind. I can feel the wind hit my face swiftly, but it’s soothing against my skin. I open one eye carefully, then the other. He pulls us up above the houses. I can see my house, the rooftop, the oak tree in my yard, I can see the zoo. Everything is getting smaller and smaller the further up we fly. And we keep going toward the moon reaching higher. He slows down and we glide for a moment, just watching the world below us.
“Are you ok?” Miles asks me. I can feel the questions in his voice. I can feel his heart pounding fast against my back as he holds me close to him.
“I am.” Is all I say. Even though I need answers, I need him to just hold me tight and take all of this in. “I can’t believe we are flying.” I giggle. He chuckles back at me and we fly through the wind, back to my house.
He lands us on the limb of the oak tree outside my window. I feel shaken from our ride and slightly dizzy. I hold my head. Miles pulls his metal mechanical wings into his back quickly and places his ankle knife into its slot he pulls his jeans over the belt and looks at me with kind but worried eyes.
“You’ll be fine in a minute. We went pretty high for your first time.” He puts his jean jacket around my shoulders and takes my hand down from where it’s placed on my for head and he holds his hand that has the moonlight coming from it and it shines on me. I feel better. I look in his eyes with wonder and questions.
“How is this even possible? Where are you from? Wha-.” He holds his hand to my mouth to stop me from talking.
“I will answer all your questions, but you need to rest now. I’ll meet you in the morning before school at the zoo.” He doesn’t let me say another word. And I feel exhausted and want to close my eyes. But I don’t want to close my eyes. I shake my head to wake up. Wanting to stay here with him. I want to talk to him. But my mind is telling me to go to sleep. Looking at Miles, feeling defeated, I close my eyes he is holding me. I feel safe.
“Opal!” My mom is shaking me. “Opal! Wake up! You’re going to be late for school!”
I’m still so tired. Is it morning already? I look out the window. It is. Argh.
“Here, I made you some toast with your favorite honey.”
“Ewe, Mom, no, I can’t bear the smell. Please take it away.”
“But you love this honey.”
“My stomach is just so queasy. I’m sorry. Thanks mom. I just, I need to get ready.” I’m eager to meet Miles at the zoo. I need an explanation abut last night.
“Ok, Sweetie. I’ll make some fruit up for you.”
I get dressed and I walk downstairs and when I get to the bottom step; I slide to the counter and trip and fall.
“Ouch!” I yell.
“Opal, are you ok?” My mom runs over and pulls me up. “Maybe you should stay home today. I’ll call the school. It will be ok.”
“No, Mom.” I pull away from her. “I’m fine. I can’t miss the second day of school.”
I go to the fridge and grab a few carrots for Horizon and put them in my school bag. I grab my lunch bag off the table and my fruit bowl that my mom made me for breakfast.
“I’ll eat this on the way.” I hear a knock at the door. “Violet is here anyway.”
My mom looks at me, puts her hands to her mouth with that horrified look on her face, and shakes her head, giving up.
“Fine, just be careful. Call me if you need anything.” She says.
I give her a hug, and she hugs me so tightly. Violet knocks again.
“Mom, I gotta go.”
“Ok, have a good day sweetie, love you so much.”
“Love you too,
I open the door to find Violet with her headphones on. Today she’s wearing jeans and a ratty old t-shirt. Her purple hair is down, covering most of her face and shoulders. I guess she feels like hiding out today. We walk quietly and cross the street before we get to the zoo. I look around for Miles. But I don’t see him.
“Opie!” I hear from behind us. Its Jon. I forgot about his note.
“Hey.” I say back. Violet’s music is so loud her other senses aren’t working properly, and she doesn’t even notice Jon running up behind us. He kicks the back of her shoe as she walks and she almost trips and falls. When she turns around, she has an angry look on her face. But when she sees Jon, she calms down and giggles a little. She gives him a good punch in the arm.
“Ouch!” Jon yells. And he pulls her head down into his arm, gives her a nugie on the top of her head.
When we get to the part of the fence where miles and I usually sneak over with Ty’s help, I stop and wait for Miles. I try to text him, but he doesn’t respond. Ty asks, “Is it clear?”
“Hold on, Ty,” I say, pushing his trunk back over the fence.
Jon and Violet turn around, realizing I’m not walking with them.
“Hey!” Jon say’s as he jogs up to me to check why I stopped. “You ok?”
“Yeah, I’m good, I’m waiting for Miles. Sorry. I’ll ahh catch up with you guys.” I say distracted, wondering where Miles could be. I smile at Jon, and he walks ahead with Violet. She just waves.
When they are out of site and I don’t see anyone, I tell Ty to pull me over. I sneak around until I see Miles and his mom. They are inspecting an empty cage. I run over quickly to see what they are doing and why Miles was ignoring me.
“Hey.” I say, catching my breath. Miles reaches for me and put his arms around me and kisses me on the cheek. When he kisses me this time, I notice his lips emulate a blue, glittery light. Then it quickly fades. He inspects me from my feet to my head and then gently lets go of me and goes back into the cage with his mom.
“That black fog we saw yesterday was a fury, Opal.” Mile’s mom says. “We think it took a bird, and it’s using the bird to get to you.” Miles put his hand on his mom’s shoulder and shakes his head. “Well, you need to tell her before it’s too late Miles.” Is all she says. She looks at me with forgiving eyes and walks away.
Miles sits me down on a rock and talks about last night.
“How do you feel about me now?” He says, looking down, his errant curls hanging in his face.
“What do you mean, how do I feel? I think you ’re amazing.” I say. He looks up at me and gently smiles. His smile quickly turns to a frown when he notices something behind me. I turn around, a little scared, I have to admit. But it’s Jon and Vi. I get up quickly.
“What are you guys doing, you’re going to be late for school?” I say angrily. Because I really want to talk to Miles. I need to know what he is and why he is here.
“So are you.” Violet reminds me we go to the same school.
“It’s ok, let’s go, we can go out the back, its quicker.” Says Miles and he walks ahead.
“Hey,” I say to Jon, calming down.
“Hi Opie.” He smiles. I smile back.
“You have the cutest smile.” Says Jon.
I shrug my shoulders in embarrassment and the four of us walk toward the school.
“How are you today, Violet?” asks Miles. He looks worried about her.
“Outstanding,” she says, holding her thumbs up.
We walk toward the school and suddenly about 10 or 15 bats swarm around our heads. Violet flips out screaming and waving her hands. I fall on my butt and hold my head in my lap. Jon just pulls out his phone and shines his flashlight at them and they fly away. Miles just stands there, looking at them. Then he checks his watch and types something into it.
“How did you know that would work?” Miles asked him.
“I didn’t... well, I hoped” he shrugged his shoulders and helps me up. Violet was still screaming.
“Vi,” I yell. “Violet”
“Ew! What are those treacherous things?”
“I think they were bats,” says Jon, fixing his beautiful hair.
“What are they doing out during the day?” she says.
“Trying to make a nest in your hair?” Jon replies, waiting for a punch.
“I think their kinda cute,” I say smirking.
“You think every living thing is cute.” Says Miles, smiling at me. Violet raises an eyebrow and adjusts herself and punches Jon in the arm. Miles makes sure she is ok.
“So? What do you think?” Jon says to me.
“Um, about what? Bats?” I say.
“No.” He laughs, “The note? Your picture, can I take your picture?”
“Oh, the note Yes.” I grin at him. “When do you need the photo?”
“Actually, by tomorrow if it’s ok maybe after school we can stop by the zoo and snap a few?”
“Sure. Yes. That is great. I will see you after school then.” I can feel my face just getting redder and redder.
“Great! Thanks! Opiee, you’ll be doing me a big favor I owe you one!” he walks ahead.
Great, a big favor (I slap myself in the forehead.)
“You ok?” I ask Miles he hasn’t said a word about our strange encounter with the bats.
“Yeah! Fine, how are you?” He looks at me from feet to head to make sure all my pieces are together, and he stares ahead. I smile and he puts his arm around my shoulder and we walk into school.