Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chapter 23: Assistance

David tapped his foot impatiently against the ground, waiting outside the zoo’s gift shop. It felt like he had been standing there for three hours, when in actuality it had been no more than three minutes. Tristan walked out casually and made his way towards him.

“What took you so long?” David snapped. Tristan looked surprised.

“Um…I didn’t realize I had taken that long at all…” Tristan replied slowly.

“You are--” David glanced down at his large, electronic watch, “--three minutes late! Do you know how long three minutes is when you’re a twelve year old boy?” David asked, standing on his tiptoes to get closer to Tristan. Tristan stared at the boy like he was insane.

“Actually, no, I don’t know how long three minutes is to twelve year old boys.” he finally replied.

“It’s an eternity!” David exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air. Tristan held up his hands, trying to get the child to quiet down.

“Okay, okay, David, it’s okay. I’m here now, so you don’t need to freak out.” Tristan said calmly. David sighed.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I’m sorry for blowing up at you like that…” David mumbled. “I probably shouldn’t have had that extra glass of chocolate milk…” Tristan smirked then placed a hand on David’s shoulder, turning him around and leading him away.

“So, where’s your mom?” Tristan asked as the two of them made their way towards the welcome center.

“Shopping, as usual.” David replied.

“When are you guys going to have lunch?” Tristan continued as the two of them entered into the welcome center. Tristan slipped David into the employee’s only room before David replied.

“Mom told us to just go and find lunch if we got hungry and she wasn’t out yet. So, we all split up and I figure I’ll just grab something from a vendor.” David said with a shrug.

“You could share my lunch with me.” Tristan suggested. David crinkled his nose in disgust.

“Bologna on rye? Thanks, but I’ll pass.” he said quickly. Tristan rolled his eyes. He grabbed his lunchbox from his locker then closed the locker door before turning back to David. He stared at David for a moment before asking another question.

“So, where’s your dad?” he asked softly. David’s eyes clouded over with look of sadness and he glanced down at his feet.

“He, uh…he left us a couple of years ago…” David mumbled quietly. Tristan looked at David with pity.

“Oh, I’m sorry…” he said quickly. David shrugged.

“It’s nothing you need to apologize for…” the boy’s voice faded and Tristan saw him swallow hard. After a moment, David looked up at Tristan, his eyes clear and cheery again.

“Do you wanna go have lunch now?” David asked with a smile. Tristan nodded then quickly sneaked David out the door, still amazed by the personality of this little boy.

The pair walked along the paved path, passing brightly colored tourists and various vendors as they went. David would briefly inspect the vendor’s cart as they passed it before shaking his head.

“Okay, you have to get something to eat. If you don’t buy something, I’m going to force feed you my sandwich.” Tristan finally said as they passed the fourth vendor’s cart.

“I’m really in the mood for pizza. Does anyone sell pizza around here?” David mused.

“I don’t know. That’s a question for Nora.” Tristan replied quickly.

“Speaking of Nora, how did it go?” David asked, looking up at Tristan. Tristan shrugged.

“All right, I guess…” he replied slowly.

“All right? You guess? What is the meaning of these words?” David asked sharply.

“I don’t know… She seems a little…weird around me…” Tristan said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Define ‘weird’.” David said dryly. Tristan sighed.

“Like…hesitant, I guess. Or, maybe 'wary' is a better word? She just seems kind of tense and worried around me, like she’s freaked out about something.”

“Perhaps your sudden change of character?” David suggested.

“Hey, you’re the one who told me to be nice.” Tristan pointed out quickly, a scowl on his face.

“I know, I know. It’s a big change for her, though. You just need to be patient. She’ll come around eventually.” David said confidently.

“Are you sure?” Tristan asked, giving David a skeptical look.

“Positive.” David said with a nod. “What did you say to her today?”

“I told her that she looked nice.” Tristan replied. “I really don’t have much else in my repertoire.”

“Well, you have to find something else. If you just say ‘you like nice’ every day, she’s just going to get annoyed with you.” David said.

“What else am I supposed to say? ‘You look hot’?”

“In this weather, even you look hot, Tristan.” David replied softly. Tristan rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t hide a small smile.

“Anyhoo, I’ll think about what else you could say to her. Maybe I’ll ask my mom about what things girls like to hear.” David said, circling back to their original topic.

“That’s actually a good idea.” Tristan said thoughtfully.

“Have I ever had a bad one?” David asked. Tristan thought for a moment before he replied.

“That extra glass of chocolate milk this morning was probably a bad idea. You said so yourself.” he replied with a nod. David smiled then lightly punched Tristan in the arm. The two of them laughed as they walked along. Suddenly, David gasped. He stared straight ahead with his mouth hanging open.

“What is it?” Tristan asked, concerned that something was wrong. David pointed ahead as a smile grew across his face.

“Pizza…” he breathed. Tristan stared at him for a minute before the boy dashed forward towards the vendor with the pizza. Tristan chuckled and shook his head before he walked over by the boy. He was glad that he had David around to help him. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to make amends with Nora without this little boy’s assistance.

No comments:

Post a Comment