“Hello,” Isea called, coming around the stone wall with ivy growing over it. They all looked up at her, squinting and smiling. They said, “Hello, Isea”, “What mischief have you been up to without me, then?”, and “What took you so long?”
“Sorry,” Isea said, without sounding too sorry. “I didn’t know what to have for lunch.” She sat down in the middle of Betty and Alice on the bench, where she belonged, and unwrapped her peanut butter and banana sandwich.
“Betty,” Alice inquired, “Did you give much thought to your lunch?” Her pale green eyes, with rings of gold around the pupils like suns, watched Betty with a certain wit and funniness about them.
Betty snapped out of her daze and blinked. She looked all around herself in bewilderment, and finally noticed Alice watching her with her bright green eyes. “Ah, no… sorry,” she mumbled, and slipped back into her daze again. Her hands were clasped in the lap of her pale dress. Her fair curly hair was always down in careless tangles around her shoulders because she always forgot to comb it. Her blue vague eyes seemed to look upwards and into the distance, but not looking really at all. They reflected the sky.
Alice and Isea looked at each other with secret knowing grins.
Isea shifted on the bench to face Betty. “Betty, do you know I finally found an idea for you?” she said so boldly that Betty was suddenly paying her her full attention.
“Spit it out, love. I’m glad that you caught one finally,” she said with a certain twinkle in her eye.
Isea told them about her idea of the tree.
“Be sure to tell me any more ideas,” Betty murmured hungrily, perhaps because she had forgotten her lunch.
“There is something about you. I don’t know what,” Gwendoline said softly from where she was—in the middle of their two benches because of her wheelchair. “You always seem to see things as they are. Never mind the frills and shallow exteriors—you always seem to understand.”
“I think that it’s true, Isea. You seem to have some sort of ability. I can almost feel it,” Alice said, while pulling a strand of her wild red hair out of her mouth that had somehow gone in with her sandwich. Alice wrapped her dark emerald green sleeved arm around Isea.
Isea did not know what they meant, but she felt whatever it was it had been a compliment, and it made her feel happy inside.
Violet sat on the second bench beside the one Alice, Betty, and Isea sat on, with Ron and Wilfred beside her. Comet, her seventh and alpha cat over the rest, sat in his place on her lap. The rest—Twinkle, Star, Lunar, Space Station, Asteroid, and Flash—were all carefully and lavishly licking up their noon meal around a large wooden bowl. Violet seemed to have forgotten her lunch as well. As a matter of fact, Isea had never seen her eat anything before. She had barely heard her speak. She never could decide what it was about Violet which made all seven cats follow her wherever she went. Isea always fantasised about what being a mysterious cat lady might be like before she met Violet.
“Maybe you would like to come out on my scooter ‘ere with me,” Ron suggested ‘helpfully’, patting its shiny red front. He sat in the middle of Violet and Wilfred. “That’s how to get a good view of the trees, isn’t it?” he said eagerly and enticingly.
Wilfred was miserably staring at a pebble on the ground. Sometimes he did not say very much and only grumbled, but sometimes he made everyone laugh. It seemed today was one of those days when he only grumbled.
“No, thank you,” Isea answered politely. Everyone who knew Ron always politely turned him down when he offered them a ride on his scooter with him. They knew he always went dangerously too fast.
Isea’s eyes and Wilfred’s met and they smiled at each other. “I will see you tomorrow,” Isea said, getting up and brushing the crumbs off of her black dress skirt. “I must write something down in The Book before I forget it.”
“Isea, come over to me before you leave, please,” said Gwendoline, unseeingly holding out her small hand in the air. She was blind. Her golden hair either looked bright, or dark, and today it looked almost white in the sunshine. Isea came over and put her hand in Gwendoline’s.
“Come and read me your story soon, won’t you?” Gwen said in a mischievous whisper. “You know I love your stories.”
“I will…I promise,” Isea whispered. Isea turned away and walked around the ivy-covered wall.