Momma insisted before anything they unpacked. Momma didn't like wrinkled clothes. Eli sat on th bed and swang her legs as she watched Momma click her tongue and smooth out their garments.
" You know you could help me out" Momma suggested.
Eli shrugged and hopped of the bed. She leaned over her suitcase and started feeling all the different textures. She liked the feel of silky things but most of her clothes felt stiff and itchy. When she was older she would only wear long flowing dresses like the women in the movies.
Eli pulled out her gray dress. It was pretty and not at all itchy. She wished she could wear it out to the bridge...but it's was too muddy. No one would let her wear a dress to go play in the mud.
Eli sighed and hung up her dress. Then she looked in her suitcase for her second favorite outfit.
" Why are you sighing so much?' Momma asked
" I want to go see Oma" Eli whined
" Then quick finish unpacking. We need to get settled" Momma urged.
Eli moaned. Then pulled out a white ruffled dress. Momma had to soak it in the tub more than once but it was the only dress that looked good with all those itchy sweaters.
" Oma has a surprise for you" Momma said
" Is it a sweater?" Eli asked.
" Maybe" Momma said
" It is a sweater" Eli sighed
" Enough with the sighing, were on vacation" Momma urged
" How long are we on vacation?" Eli asked again
" Perhaps...until school starts up again. The city is no place to be in the summer. " Momma smiled
Eli hung up her dress and went for another. She peered in the suitcase and said " Are they bombing the city?"
Momma froze in her tracks and barely whispered " I don't know"
" Where the hell is my Granddaughter?"
Momma jumped and put her hand to her heart. She shook her head.
" Papa why are you yelling?" Momma yelled back.
" Where are you hiding my Granddaughter...not underneath the couch...not underneath the table..."
Momma rolled her eyes and said " Go find your Opa before he gets lost, I'll finish up here"
Eli smiled and ran off. Then slowly flatened herself up against the wall. She peered around the corner. Opa was peering in the ice box. Eli jumped into the kitchen and yelled as loud as she could. Opa banged his head back on the door and quickly turned around. Opa righted himself then smiled widely at Eli.
" Your lungs are stronger than last time" He said
Momma yelled back " Unless your fulling engulfed in fire I don't want to hear anyone screaming like that"
" Sorry" Opa called back " I saw a spider"
Eli and Opa giggled. Eli giggled until her sides hurt. Then Opa pulled her into a big bear hug.
" How's my penut?" Opa asked
" Good school is done" Eli smiled
" I hear you did very well even in math" Opa said
Eli had no interest in talking about school on vacation. So far this was turning into a very boring vacation...but maybe Opa could turn it around. Opa always let her do things no one else would.
" Opa I want to go for a walk" Eli begged.
Opa looked at his watch and said " Well, then go for a walk"
Eli didn't wait for a second invitiation. She ran out the screen door and just kept running. She didn't want anyone to hold her back. She couldn't wait to finally meet him in person. Momma was going to be mad at Opa for just letting her run lose especially in these times but for the momment Eli was carefree.
Eli ran until she was completely spent. She flopped on a log. The walk was a lot longer than she thought it would be. Eli wasn't sure she could do the long distance thing. Eli paused and caught her breath. Then she did what she did everytime she saw a log or a rock and turned it over. She watched the ants scurry everywhere. Eli saw at least a hundred ants...then she let the log thud on the ground. Much to Eli's disappointment it did not echo.
Eli started off running again until she saw something in the distance...Yellow and white stones. There he was. Eli slowed down and walked warily towards the bridge. Eli was suddenly nervous. She smoothed her hair and slowly reached out. Even though the bridge was nowhere near arms length. Every step was painful. Why was he so close yet she couldn't touch him...not yet anyway.
Eli slowly smiled as her feet met the bridge. She glided her hands over the stone railing on both sides. She would touch every inch of him before the day was done.
Eli whispered shyly " Hi"
The bridge was glad to finally see her. It had been too long...He urged her to sit down. So she did. She lay her back against him and let him hold her up.
" My name is Eli. I like reading, movies and painting. Sometimes I like school. I don't like math. What do you like?"
He was shy. He muttered something about loving nature...the sound and the feel of the wind. The smell of pollen in the air. Morning dew.
" I like those things too" Eli said
Eli slowly stood up and boldly sat up on the ledge. She peered over the edge at the boggy ground. Alas...she forgot boots...she couldn't get her Mary Janes all muddy. Even more bodly Eli stripped off her Mary Janes and socks. She let her foot glide down his stone walls. He was oddly both smooth and rough. But he would never make her bleed...
Eli heard a voice in the distance and quickly get louder. Eli quickly pulled up her socks. She slowed down and whispered to him.
" Next time we meet I'm going to kiss you"
Then she looked over her shoulder. Her mother was running towards her. Momma looked scared. Maybe it had been a worse idea than she had first thought...Momma looked like she had been crying.
But all she did was mutter " Never listen to your Opa again"
Eli nodded and put on her shoes. Momma held out her hand out .Eli slowly took it. They both slowly walked back. Eli looked over at him. She almost whispered to him...almost...but this was just for them...a secert affair.