The Day They Met
It was a Wednesday; that I can be certain of. I know this because I was headed to swim practice, which was always on Wednesday. As I walked down the wooded, suburban street, I wondered how fast a human could go down the pool slide without being launched. I heard a rustling in the tree above me. I looked up expecting some small animal, like a squirrel or something. Sitting on a branch about six feet above me was a teenage girl.
"Oh darn, I was hoping to stay hidden." She said.
"You are in a tree." I said with disbelief.
"So it would seem."
"Why are you in a tree?"
"To stay away from the lava monsters of course, if I'm in the tree, they can't find me."
"They sound rather dangerous."
"Oh, they are, do you see any?"
I decided to humor her and looked around. I didn't see any monsters, so I looked back up at her.
"Nope, no monsters here,"
"Good," The girl promptly dropped down onto the trunk of a nearby car.
"Whose car is that? Won't they be upset?"
"It's my dads, he's mad at me no matter what I do, so it really doesn't matter."
I could not find the words to reply to that. So I took a moment to examine her. She had short, golden blond hair that had a couple leaves a twigs sticking out of it. She was wearing a long-sleeved, white, button-up shirt, that seemed a bit big for her, and torn blue jeans.
"I'm Lucy, by the way." She said, holding out her hand.
"I'm Rachel." I replied, shaking her hand. I noticed bruises on her arm but I chose not to say anything.
"Let me guess, you're going to go swimming."
"Um, yes, how did you know?"
"You're holding goggles."
I looked at my hand, sure enough, I was holding goggles. "Good eye."
"Thank you, may I walk with you?"
"I can't exactly stop you, can I?"
"Nope," She said with a smile. She stepped toward me, turned so that she stood beside me, hooked her arm around mine and said, "off we go!"
Lucy was too entertaining to let down, so I walked on, as if this had been a completely normal encounter.
"So, Rachel, where are we headed?" She asked, as if the answer wasn't entirely important, she was just curious.
"The public pool, it's about a quarter of a mile from here."
"Hmm, I've never been."
"Really? Well, it's not really obvious; you kind of have to go looking for it, unless you've been there, of course."
"Do you have to pay to use the pool?"
"No, but you do have to pay for the swim class."
"Is that why you're going to the pool today?"
"Yes, yes it is."
"So, what's your family like, if you don't mind my asking?"
"My dad doesn't spend a lot of time at home. My mom home schools my sister and me; and my brother left for college a little while back."
"Why doesn't your dad stay home?"
"He has work."
With that, she seemed to understand I no longer wanted to talk about family. We were quiet for a while.
"What about your family Lucy?" I decided to ask.
"It's just me, my father and little brother David. Dad is a professional alcoholic and Dave is a master finger painter." She didn't seem to happy about the answer.
"A master? Impressive."
"He truly is," She said with a smile.
We had now arrived at our destination.