Amanda jumped at the sound of Evan’s voice. “Maybe,” she said, teasing him. “It’s such a sad, yet beautiful scene.” Amanda nodded towards the two children who were chasing each other around the spacious yard. “They’ve become so close, in such a short period of time, too.”
“It’s only natural,” Evan said. “They’ve been through similar situations and they needed someone to talk to.”
“I suppose,” Amanda said, sighing.
“Tag!” Garrett yelled. Brooke screamed at the touch of his hand on her back. She fell, laughing onto the grassy earth. Garrett fell down next to her and the two simply laughed until their sides ached.
“My turn,” Garrett said.
Brooke smiled. “Okay.”
“Where are you from?”
“I used to live in South Carolina,” Brooke replied. “Right next to the beach. Every morning, my mother would come in before I woke up and open my windows. I always woke up to the sounds of waves crashing, seagulls crying, and the smell of wind.”
“Smell of the wind?”
Brooke turned to him, her eyes opened wide. “You’ve never smelled the wind?” she asked incredulously.
Garrett shook his head.
“Okay, do it. Right now. Lean your head back.” Garrett did so, his eyes still locked on Brooke’s face. “Close your eyes and listen.” Brooke turned on her side so she could watch him. For a few moments, neither of them talked. Brooke closed her eyes and turned her face upward, towards the sun. The two children were surrounded by the sounds of summer.
Birds called to each other high above in the trees, the river that flowed behind the house burbled happily, and, if you were really quiet, you could hear the wind whispering to itself throughout the soft blades of grass.
“Now,” Brooke said in a soft tone, “take a deep, slow breath and tell me what it smells like.”
Garrett obeyed. He inhaled once, twice, three times before he answered her. “It smells like… freedom, openness. Like peace.”
He opened his eyes and turned to her. “That had to be the most… calming sensation I’ve ever had. Who taught you to smell the wind?”
“My mum,” she said. “Ah, sorry; my mom.”
Garrett laughed. “No, don’t correct yourself. It makes me laugh when you accidentally speak British.”
“I’ve only known you for a few days and already I’m talking like you. By the end of the week, I could be considered a Brit myself, yeah?”
“Possibly,” Garrett said. “What about your accent? I thought all Southerner’s had a… what’s the word? Twang?”
Brooke laughed. The action hurt her already tired ribs, but she didn’t care. “Say… say ‘twang’ again.”
Garrett looked puzzled, but he said it again. At Brooke’s laughter he asked, with a chuckle of his own, “What’s so funny?”
“The way you say, ‘twang’,” she said it slowly, deliberately, “it kind of sounds like ‘twine’. Tw-ah-aine.” Her imitation sent Garrett into peals of laughter as he realized how silly he sounded. The children continued like that for hours more, asking questions, poking fun, and smelling the wind.
It was the first time that Brooke didn’t feel alone or abandon.