Something to note about ferns is that they have long foliage. This one, the lace fern, happens to have a particular excess of foliage. This is why it happens to be placed quite frequently in floral arrangements and happens to adapt quite nicely to various climates, which is useful for gardeners.
Were the fern not so gorgeous to have outdoors, many people would not want to ever plant the poor thing, for it is rather large in size. Of course, the leaves themselves aren’t that wide, but their extremely long length would be enough to deter anyone away from growing them. I think that a large plant that speaks for itself is wonderful. I would love to be able to have one, but I have yet to have a large enough yard.
When I looked at the plants that were large, I became to envy them. I wished that I had the guts to pronounce myself so fully. They had no shame, those large plants. When they wanted to show themselves off to the world, they did so, and without a single ounce of regret or hesitance. How lovely that must be.
I was abler to become a part of the spotlight when I was trying to shy away from it. This is what I did every time I talked to Ricky, and yet he always made me center stage, exactly where I didn’t want to end up. He was a bad idea, which was why I talked to him, but I was also a bad idea to him.
“So, what do you think of the pie shop?” he asked me, unsure of my blank expression and what it truly meant. Sometimes I wished that my standard reaction was not a blank stare. At times like this, it made it incredibly difficult for the other person to know what to do. Then again, that could be a blessing.
“Well, I haven’t seen the interior yet. There could be something grand inside.”
“Then come right on in. It’s been waiting for a visitor such as yourself.”
“Don’t be silly.” Of course, he was being anything but silly, which I would have known if I had been looking at his face, which was never a blank expression. It was the key difference between him and me. He always loved to use expression and I was quite a fan of avoiding it at all costs. There was no real reason for doing so. I just preferred people to not confuse my expression for something else, and not having any real emotion show through seemed to solve the problem. Granted, it did create a new issue entirely.
He opened the door up for me and, although I knew I was going to like the place a lot, I feared that we would be too distracted by the food to talk about what was really running through our minds. More often, it seemed that we would become so entranced by the distraction that we would lose our place.
So, when I walked into the store and saw the frosted windows and lettering from the inside, I was not disappointed. I was, however, fearful that he would take one look at a beautiful slice of pie served to him that he would then forget about telling me the story I longed to hear. I enjoyed food just as much as anyone else, but I also really enjoyed talking to a friend. The food was always going to be there.
When he walked up to the counter, I took the time to look at the posters hung up on the wall, which was also conveniently boasting awards. There were plaques with awards from places whose names were in foreign languages I did not recognize. The words on the plaques, also in the foreign languages, making them very hard to understand, were also something I did not recognize. Had there not been gold circles on the top of the awards, I wouldn’t have known what they were. Luckily, the posters were not as cryptic and were simply funny little things with puns and pictures of random types of pies. They were fun.
“Here you go, buttercup, one slice of strawberry rhubarb pie.”
“How did you know that this is my favorite type of pie? Almost no one serves it.”
“It happens to be my favorite and the specialty of this shop.”
“Then it would only make sense to give the stranger the specialty.”
“So,” he said, with some pie on the blue plastic fork, “what were you doing?”
“Oh, I just happened to enter into the house and then Mason comes on in.”
“He just showed up on you? He doesn’t seem like the type of guy to do that.”
“Well, he slammed a door into me when he first came, but that was mostly my fault.”
“That would explain why half of you looks bruised. I figured it was just the lighting.”
“Anyhow, he and I saw all of the boxes there were. I wasn’t willing to do anything about them, but then we both decided to empty them up. We pulled the boxes down, opened them up, and dumped them out on the floor. Once it had been done, there was nothing that could be done. There was no going back.”
“So you just chose to dump out boxes full of artwork. Do you realize what you did?”
“Of course I realize what I did. Don’t you think that was why I was reluctant to tell you?”
“I knew that you were holding something from me, but I thought that there would be something interesting that you were hiding. I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s just some boxes. Anyone who’s curious would have done exactly the same thing. It’s a completely normal thing to do. Don’t worry.”
“You’re the one who was making such a big deal about the entire ordeal, not me.”
“Right. Anyhow, weren’t we in the middle of talking about Mason’s life story?”
“Yes. And then you got blueberry pancakes and we stopped talking about it.”
“Anyway, here’s the story. He happened to get into fights all the time. They happened to be with acquaintances of his bother and then he went to blaming his brother for them. His brother wouldn’t like it, and I think you know what happened from there on out, but then his other brother decided to mimic what he was doing. Of course, this is not without a happy ending. Everything has to end somehow.”
“Just because something ends doesn’t mean it has to end happily. It’s okay if it doesn’t.”
“So Mason adored making snowmen and snow angels. It was something that he always liked to do, which made him seem more personable. He would stare out the windows late at night as snow fell down and hoped that there would be enough snow for him to make a snow fort or something like that.”
“That doesn’t seem like much of a story. What aren’t you telling me?”
“Well, he did build a fort from snow and he got his brothers to help him out. It was interesting to see them all working together on something. It got very large and they camped out in it that night.”
“Then what happened? Did they play some sort of prank on him?”
“At least someone I know is a decent guesser. They played a prank on him and it was not something that anyone dared to call funny. His brothers took the sleeping bag and pillow from him. They took his coat and scarf. They took his hat and his earmuffs, all of which matched, by the way. They didn’t care one bit that the weather was terrible and that he could freeze out there. They knew that there was going to be a great story one day about it. And that was all that they could ever hope for.”
“Well, at least I can be assured that he wasn’t making up a story about having it hard.”
“You would bring it there. Anyway, the story would be nothing if that were all there is.”
“So there’s more to this thrilling tale of woe? Please, continue. You’re on a roll.”
“Since I doubt I’ve told you before, I became friends with Steven this day. He happened to walk in on an art class of mine once and complimented my art. I have never been good at art. I was supposed to have drawn a lighthouse. It looked more like a bird. Yet, he felt the need to lie to me about my art.”
“That’s not the same day as the other story. What’s the real angle?”
“So, I didn’t believe him that day and I thought that he was a liar for the longest time. I thought that he was a conceited jerk. There were a lot of horrible things I thought about him that I also spread around to many others. They accepted what I told as fact. I will never understand why they did that.”
“How did you become friends with the guy you thought so low of?”
“How I became friends with him is also the story of why he had to leave town. Steven walked around town and came across the fortress. He thought it was pretty neat. I happened to be wandering around, too. I had known Mason, although not very well. I knew him enough to know that his family was full of trouble and only fools got involved with his family. Steven looks into the fort and sees Mason sleeping. He doesn’t wake him or anything like that. What counts is that Steven then goes inside the house and demands to talk to Mason’s brothers. Steven was gutsy like that, choosing to talk to people like that?”
“So then what happens?”
“Well, Steven and Mason’s brothers head outside. They then fight with each other. Of course, fighting members of an affluent family is never a good idea. Steven knew this and didn’t care. He knew he was going to get into a boatload of trouble, but preferred it over not doing anything at all?”
“How does the story end? Is there a happy ending?”
“Well, the police came and Steven got dragged away. Mason never did see any of it, but heard many stories of what happened. I went to see Steven, and he and I talked to each other for a while before we really became something close to friends. There was an element of stupidity to everything about that day, but the point is, because of that day, I can tell you the origin stories of many people in this town.”