Beyond the squealing toddlers and laughing crowd of pre-teens such as herself, Bo sat under the shade on a park bench chatting to her new friend. While her mother had told her to be careful of the harsh sun and strangers, Bo seemed to pay attention to the former and not the latter. Her new friend was Old Man Weathers. Almost every 12-year-old in the neighbourhood was terrified of the creepy old man who was rumoured to have lost his tongue trying to eat a squirrel alive. According to legend, he wasn’t really old, but aged terribly because he wandered around day and night looking for that which was stolen from him. No one ever mentioned what exactly it was. Bo figured it was all baloney. She thought herself to be too learned and sophisticated to believe in bedtime stories when the man first motioned her to sit with him by the pond.
“Coach said I have to choose between basketball and volleyball by tomorrow,” the young girl narrated, “but I haven’t told mother I made the team. Any team. She’s always saying I should keep healthy, but I know she’s not gonna let me stay for practice or go for away-games.”
She hung her head like the comfortable silence between them, until Old Man Weathers motioned with his hands, “Which would you like to play?”
“Basketball. Volleyball is tons of fun, but I don’t like the seniors in the team. They act like Neanderthals half the time.”
She could’ve sworn she saw him smile, but the man was known to be expressionless and emotionless 24/7 365.
He responded, “Then ask your mother as nicely as you can. Let her know that you thought it through and you’re ready. Invite her to watch you at every practice and all your games. I am sure she would understand whatever decision you make.”
“For added measure,” he continued, “promise her you’ll have your homework done and grades up like usual. I’m sure she’ll consider you then.”
Bo was always fascinated by how he was so ‘sure’. It was no secret Bo was the top of her class, not that she bragged about it, but how could he possibly know her mother would listen? Maybe it was a grown-up thing, but she was pretty sure no-one understood her mother like she did.
Bo’s mama was very peculiar. And Bo knew it contributed somehow to her own peculiarity. But she adored her mother with every fiber of her being. She felt as though her mother was widely misunderstood and often defended her from vicious opinions of others like the teachers at her school. The pair only had each other. Bo’s grandparents died of old age long before she was born and her father perished in a plane crash when she was a baby. When Bo asked her mother if she ever mourns their passing she replied stoically, “We’re all going to die someday. It’s unpleasant but its reality. Some before others, and some sooner than hoped. Once you understand and accept that, it becomes easier to enjoy everyday before it all comes to an end.” With that, Claire switched off the stove and went into the backyard garden where she spent a lot of her time. That night Bo ate alone and tucked herself into bed.
You see me here
You don’t know
I’ve been everywhere
That I’ve been here before
I’ve been adored by those you adore
One hand full of treats
The other full of love
Two fit like a glove
Today you see me here
You will know
The months that preceded were filled with long chats by the park or by the deli with Old Man Weathers. Even though the pair had grown together and their friendship had blossomed, Bo made sure that she would never be reeled into a dark alley or into his house by the old man because that’s how every horror movie that she had watched so far started. Although meeting the old man was fun and all, Bo knew that if her mother found out, she would go into a frenzie and ground her for life. Firstly, he was the weird man that every child should normally fear with no known background or family. Secondly, she would meet him alone and they would spend hours talking about this and that like two peas in a pod. Their rather peculiar relationship could not be logically explained with the only available explaination being that he was a deranged psychopath or paedophile who was trying to lure her into his dungeon. Contray to popular belief, Mr Weathers hadn’t tried anything sketchy just yet. He was just always there for Bo, giving her advice on how to deal with school or any challenges she was facing. Most of the time, he was her first go-to before she even talked to her mother. They had become so close that Bo now called him Joe, his never-heard-before first name.
The strength of their relationship was shown the time when she had her first period. Approaching the wooden bench in the park where they usually hung out, Bo looked a bit out of sorts with blood shot eyes and her jersey wrapped around her waist with it hanging from the back.
“Bo? What’s wrong? What happened today at school?” he said to her before she even sat down next to him.
“Something…” she tried to explain but started breaking down. After a few minutes, she continued. “I got my…menses for the first time today. Even though I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, when it actually happen, I don’t know how to explain it.”
He took a second to think of the right way to approach the situation before he said, ” Look Bo, what happened to you is normal. It is nothing to be ashamed of.”
“But the boys at school laughed at me when they saw I stained myself,” she quickly interrupted him.
“So! Do their opinion matter? Did your mother raise you to care what opeople say about you? Or were you raised to be strong and confident even when people are against you? Don’t worry about those boys, in a few years they will all be by your side asking for a chance to be with you,” he explained.
“Eww! I am never going to be with a boy!” she quickly responded.
A rare moment occured as Joe seemed to slightly laugh before he musked it off as a cough. “Okay Bo, if you think so. We will have this conversation properly in 3 years or so. Does your mom know what happened?”
“No, I haven’t seen her yet. I came straight here right after school to talk to you about it before I talk to mama. You know how very literal she will be. I am sure she was take a commanding approach to the situaiton anyway so I decided to put that on hold temporarily.”
Joe then took her to the convenient store to teach her about sanitary pads and the likes.
Is it wrong because you don’t understand?
Is it wrong because you don’t have it? Or
Is it wrong because you wish you had someone like that?
Is it weird because she enjoys his company?
Is it weird because she is the only one talking to him? Or
Is it weird because she trusts him like her own father?
Is it unsafe because they are alone?
Is it unsafe because they are in public? Or
Is it unsafe because they are actual friends with a healthy relationship?
This is a collaboration between Blazyroniic and Rosslyn06. Her blog link is lightersandink.home.blog and this isn’t the end of this Bo & Joe series. It is the beginning…