Little Sammy...that is what his grandmother and everyone else called him. Today he stared at the brown, drab, metal-framed bed, where he had carefully laid out his 'gear'--a German helmet from the Paoli Army/Navy Store, a cardboard breast-plate, and a broken hockey stick studded with beads. Sammy lifted the stick--no, it was a sword, his sword! Suddenly changing his mind, he threw it back onto the bed. Turning quickly, he grabbed a canvas satchel, stuffed his well-worn copy of The Return of the King inside, and made his way downstairs.
He really wanted to avoid people. It was a game he played in his head each weekend. If he could make it through the woods, past the orchard, and down to the Great Hall, then he 'won.' If he didn't make it...well, then he was 'killed in battle." What did that really mean, though? He never thought about that, especially since they had found his grandmother in her apartment...
The path was familiar: out from the Boy's Home, a huge granite building dating from the 1920s, and up through the woods, following trails blazed by several generations of orphaned boys. Under some of these trees he had placed 'gods' that he had carved out of bits of broken fence salvaged from a construction site. To invoke their protection, he only had to nod briefly in their general direction.
The road then curved around to the west. As usual on a Sunday, it was empty of traffic. If he had been wearing his 'gear,' Sammy would have been in the woods, walking parallel to the road, striking down the 'jaggers' and 'May apples' in his path. Further back in the woods was an old saw mill, where he sometimes stopped to read or have a snack. Today he went straight on, past the abandoned reservoir and several homes--normal people-houses, not granite monoliths.
When he reached the Fruit Market, Sammy had choices. Most weekends he just continued left, down the valley to the Grand Hall. But sometimes he took the right-hand path to the Cemetery One way that he never took lay straight ahead on to the west, off the grounds.
And was today to be any different? He had no 'gear'--not even his sword. His grandmother, who had been his anchor in this world was gone. What should he do? Well, why not go forward! Why not, indeed! Sammy--feeling little no longer--ran along the road, through the cross-roads, passing a barrier long established in his mind. Briefly he felt happy beyond his imaginings---briefly he could forget!
Then, he stopped dead in his tracks. Somebody was there! Under an apple tree--blonde hair--a girl reading a book. If he continued, she would see him and he would 'lose' his game. He turned quickly to flee back the way he had come. Crack! He stepped on a dry branch. What to do? What to do? Should he run?
Then a voice--a pleasant warm welcoming voice, came drifting over the smell of apples and summer sunlight, "Sammy...Sammy, is that you?"
The sound in the chapel was so clear and soft today...I was still
humming on my way back to the girls home to pack my stuff for a warm
day among the animals and trees. I quickly went to the kitchen and
found what I needed in the well stocked kitchen. Ran up the 3 flights
to my room, grabbed a sweater and threw off my dress shoes for some
sandals. What book today?...."little woman", I can be Joe with her
out the back door past the kitchen, past the tennis court, up the
little forest towards my destination...the road was warm so I stayed
to the trees, I know a lot of the other kids will be swimming today. I
love being with them, but today I feel a little bit of the old
feelings, the fear my mother gave me, like something might happen to
ruin all I have here. I usually like being alone when I have that old
fear. I feel safer that way... I take time to slow down taking in the
beauty of this place, I feel the sun wash away the fear and dance
along the road....singing easy..."my cup runneth over with love"
I imagine the older folks smiling at me either love my spirit, or
think I'm a little crazy...just past the hospital now. I reach into my
pocket and take out the small bag of M&M's, I remember making sure
they were all blue, then only as they melt in my mouth can I fly
towards the trees...over the road, past the farm stand and on to my
happy cows. I love to watch them with there young, such peaceful
The trees are full and shady, I fall upon the road and walk deep into
them so I am less seen from the road.
My sweater over my shoulder I rest back and begin to read.... "Jo.
It's so boyish!" "That's why I do it.""I detest rude, unladylike
girls!"...I was just dozing off, book falling in my lap, when I heard
SNAP...the sound of a branch under foot, but who's foot?
Ooo It's Sammy...I always thought he seemed so sweet. not at all pushy
like the other boys...I call to him "Sammy...Sammy, is that you?"
I drop my book and sweater as I stand to greet him, I see I caught him
by surprise, I smile to let him know it's ok. I love his helmet and
armor....I always envisioned myself as a lost princess...and somehow
he looked like the one to find me and save me, remind me I am worthy
and special, like any good princess lost. I walk toward him, I see his
hesitation, but my invitation to join me for lunch seems to warm him.
We walk silently to the tree I left my things under. We are invisible
again among the trees. He and I share my bag, enough for us both as
we eat cheese apples, pickles and crackers....He tells me of his quest
to be unseen, I tell him of my singing along the road, we confess a
charm has been cast, I feel like he is now safe for me, so I tell him
of my M&M's...smiling he laughs and we sit for a long time sharing
I feel so close now to Sammy. I want to be closer...it is so warm out,
can I be brave, I want to be. So I do it, I lean in and kiss him
feeling his warm mouth. Sweet lips pressed gently against my own...am
I dreaming? Is this real?
We stand, look into each others eyes and I ask him to promise to keep
my secrets, I promise to be his lookout as he tries his "game" to be
unseen, secret words are passed, we smile at each other glad to have a
I hug him close to me feeling the pressure of my budding breast
against his chestplate...I kiss him deeper, feeling at once his own
passion...I open my mouth to his, we are young and explore the power
of a kiss.
Sweet Sam...how I never knew he was the one. I laugh at the sweetness
of his kiss and dance among the trees, my summer dress flowing around
me....peace in the orchard...
Offering him my M&M's we get ready to sail towards the forest...my
friend, my love....my trust. hold my heart it is fragile...but ready
to be shared. I will be your lookout and always love you for who you
are. Shield and helmet ready to protect....