Whisper 2.07

Dear Mom,

It’s been a while since I’ve written. Things are going great! The kids are both A students, both smart, and both staying out of trouble, for the most part.

They’re in high school now. Patches is going through a bit of an awkward phase–at least I think it’s a phase! She keeps dropping dishes, bumping into things, and tripping on the treadmill. I tell her it’s probably from growing so quickly.

Bo has become a daredevil–no surprise there. He’s so gruff on the outside, but inside, he’s sweet as ever, and our family, plus Zoey and Roxy, are the most important things to him.

With the kids growing up and everything going so well, I’m starting to think that we’re ready to head to college, Riley and me.  Bo and Patches say they’ll be able to hold down the fort while we’re gone, and Mara says she’ll look in on them.

I’ve started preparing. I’ve been fixing everything. It’s still a little early, but I’ve waited so long for this that just doing something related to leaving for college–like making sure the house is in good condition–feels productive and helps me not feel so antsy to just go!

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Patches had her sweet sixteen party in the snow. Oh, Mom! She’s so adorable!

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You’d be so proud of Bo, too. He’s a handsome leaf, and so smart.

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Of course, he’s still crazy as ever. We were talking at Patches’ party, and he started saying something about missiles.

“How much do you think they can carry?” he asked.

“What?”

“Never mind,” he said. “I’ll look it up in the science lab.”

I don’t know who his science teacher is this semester, but I hope we have teacher conferences before Riley and I leave for college.

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“Do you think Bo means well?” Patches asked me the other day.

“What? Patches, you’re his IF. If anybody would know, you’d know!”

“Yes,” she said, “but you’re his sister. I’m just looking for a reality check.”

I told her not to worry. He’s got crazy ideas, but deep down, he’s still the same little Bo we’ve always loved. Just bigger and more handsome.

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“Do televisions emit radiation?” Patches asked me when I was fixing the TV.

I had no idea. “It’s turned off while I’m fixing it,” I told her. “I think I’ll be OK.”

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Bo will still sometimes hum his weird song and then destroy Patches’ snowmen or snow angels or kick over the flamingo.

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But then the next minute, there he is, having a Snow Tea party, with the sweetest grin on his face.

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“He’s just Bo,” I tell Patches. “We’ve all got all these sides to us. Bo’s sides just happen to be a little extreme.”

Mom, Riley’s been a little bit mysterious lately. The other afternoon, when I came into the kitchen, she hastily put her phone away.

“I was thinking of going out. Is that OK? Do we need anything from the store?”

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“Go! Have fun! I just went shopping, so the fridge is stocked. Where you going?”

“Just out!” she said.

She had the biggest grin when she got on her bike and rode off in the snow.

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She was gone for a few hours, and she came back home with an even bigger grin.

“Did you have fun?” I asked her.

“Mmmm hmmm,” she replied, still smiling.

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“Where’d you go?”

“Oh, just out to the parking lot by the theater.”

“Did you see a movie?”

“Um, no.”

“Were you alone?”

“Not exactly,” she replied. “Argus was there. You know, Argus Brown.”

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“Oh,” I replied. “What did you do?”

“We just talked,” she said.

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I poured us some tea. I wanted to know everything, but I also didn’t want pry, and I felt like I’d already asked so many questions.

As Riley sipped her tea, I got the idea that she really wanted to tell me about it, but she wasn’t sure how.

“Is it OK if I keep asking you questions?” I asked her.

She broke out into a huge grin. “Please do!” she said. And she blushed.

It turns out that Argus was in his werewolf form, and she really liked it! She said she thought about getting into her doll form, but then she remembered how sometimes dogs would grab ragdolls in their mouths and shake them, so she thought maybe she wouldn’t.

When I asked her what they talked about, she told me that Argus confessed a fear of having his heart broken.

“Well,” I said, “if there’s one thing you’re not, that’s a heart-breaker. You’re loyal as a snowfall.”

“Is a snowfall loyal?” she asked.

“Do we need to ask that when it’s snowed every day for three months? Just like it does every winter? Point is, you’re loyal.”

“That’s what I told him!” she said.

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She said it was the best date ever, very romantic.

They built snowmen.

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Lots and lots of snowmen.

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They made two igloos.

“Did you use them?” I asked.

“Oh, no!” Riley said. “We just built them, for something to work on together.”

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“But you had a good time? And Argus was nice?”

“Argus was a dream,” Riley said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Can you believe it? I’m always happy. But this. This felt like heaven.”

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Mom, it looks like Riley is in love.

I wonder how the romance will fare as a long-distance relationship. Won’t be long before we’re heading off to college.

Don’t worry–I’ll still write! And of course, you’ll still be here to haunt the place. (Just kidding!)

Love,

Marigold

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