The moment Jonah got home from school, he pulled out his homework and got to work.
“You don’t have to do homework right away,” Kiki said. “You can do other things first–rest, eat snack, play. You know, charge your batteries.”
He thought for a moment. “There is something I’m really excited to do!” he said. “I’m just not sure how to get started.”
It was his school project.
“Oh, I used to love those,” Kiana said. “I can help!”
They worked together to put together the model of planets.
“I did this same one when I was in your grade!” Kiana said. “We had the same book, too.”
“It’s pretty interesting,” Jonah said. “Some of these words are really big.”
When they finished, Jonah pulled out his homework again.
“Do you like reading, Jonah?” Kiana asked.
“It’s hard,” he said. “My eyes get tired and sometimes I forget what line I’m on. But I like learning. So I’m motivated.”
Kiana chuckled to herself. Jonah had an interesting vocabulary, she’d noticed: “vista,” “motivated,” these were rather big words for a little kid.
“How do you know a word like ‘motivated,'” Kiana asked, “or what it means?”
“I hear people talking,” Jonah said. “They’re always saying things like, ‘Oh, Jonah is a very motivated learner.’ And I think they’re right.”
After homework, Kiana reminded Jonah that his supper was waiting on the kitchen table. “I have a few things I have to do,” she said, “but I’ll be down to join you before you’re done eating.”
Kiana took a quick shower, hopped into her PJ’s, and looked over her latest character concept she was developing for work. It was awfully quiet down there.
When she went down to check on Jonah, she found that he wasn’t in the kitchen. He’d carried his meal out to the foyer.
“Is something wrong?” she asked. “You know this isn’t actually part of our home. Is there a reason you’re sitting out here?”
“I like the view,” he said. “Is it OK? We don’t have any windows in the kitchen.”
“Sure. It’s fine. We don’t have any neighbors on this floor yet, and the view is nice. I’m sure it’s fine to take your meals out here when you want.”
They sat together while the sun set and the city grew dark. It was very peaceful here, and there was something magical about watching the lights come on in the buildings across the way.
“I’ll take your dish,” Kiana said when Jonah had finished eating.
“Can I stay out here a bit longer?” he asked.
“Sure,” she said.
After Kiana left, Jonah saw a pale light float from out of the apartment. While he watched, it seemed to form into the shape of an older woman.
He felt too shy to talk to it–can you talk with something that is and isn’t there? But he got a good feeling from whatever it was. It was the same feeling he got when he was around Kiana. Maybe this is what home feels like, he thought, or the feeling of being loved and being safe.