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Noticing Grace (Wonderful, Beautiful, Mysterious, and Stupid)
Timothy and Grace lay an arm's length apart on top of a grass-covered hill. The hill overlooked nothing but more grass, sitting in the middle of not Nowhere, but Somewhere. It was hardly an interesting sight compared to views the like of the Grand Canyon or the Great Lake. The hill where Timothy and Grace lay was neither grand nor great, but particularily boring at first glance. However, for those who had the ability to look not only with one's eyes but with one's soul, well, it was not so boring after all. A rather simple part of using one's soul to see is to listen to the quiet. Everywhere was quiet except for the chirping of crickets, the croaking of toads, and the wind whistling through the trees. If the universe were to go by another name it would be called Mystery. Every speck of dust in the universe is mysterious and enchanting, holding their own secretive magical qualities. Nothing is boring if you can truely see. All of this too could be spoken of Grace. She too could be called Mystery, but God knew she was much more. If only Timothy would notice too.
The grass was dry, scratching at their legs and tangling in their hair. Both of them had but only spent a little over a decade experiencing the mysterious adventure of life with scraped knees and dirt under their nails. Timothy twisted uncomfortably in the grass, brushing his bangs out of his eyes every time he moved so he could see the night sky. Grace laid transfixed, gazing in wonder at the stars. She was blinking only when the stars twinkled and paid no attention to the wind blowing the flower crown off her head. Only Timothy cared enough to run down the hill to retrieve it for her. He was a smidge frustrated with Grace's carelessness towards his charming creation made of some of the universe's most beautiful mysteries. They both had to wear the crowns weaved of delicate wildflowers for they were both, as proclaimed by Timothy, rulers of the hill. For an hour they lay motionless, breathing the summer air and pretending that they were a part of the sky.
Grace turned on to her side, staring at Timothy. If only she could read his mind. Then she would know why he cared so much about his flower crowns and foolish games. Grace giggled to herself. How perfectly mysterious, she thought. Then she remembered what her mother said about boys. All boys are mysterious and Timothy is a boy so why should he be any different. Fireflies began to dance around his feet to the rhythm of the night. She watched him breath and traced his moonlit silhouette with her eyes.
He turned to look at her, his eyes tired. He yawned. "Yeah?"
"I think you're beautiful."
Timothy tried very hard not to laugh and instead said with a smile hidden in the corner of his mouth, "that's stupid. Boys can't be beautiful." The fireflies moved to dance around his shoulders.
Grace looked at him disappointedly. "The stars are beautiful. Are they only girls?"
Timothy couldn't help himself. He broke into a fit of laughter, turning back onto his back. "You're being really stupid tonight, Grace. Stars can't be boys or girls! Stars aren't alive!" Grace sat up for a second as her face turned a shade of pink. Her cheeks felt like they were on fire and her throat went dry. Even though Timothy wouldn't be able to see her blush in the dark, she then felt a need to turn onto her side, facing away from him.
She managed to cough up in her defense, "Says who?"
"Oh." Timothy laughed again. He thought Grace was perfectly endearing even though he told her she was acting stupid. She was not really stupid, she was funny and quirky and wonderful. But Timothy could not put Grace into one word besides the one she was already given as a name, so he settled on calling her stupid. It was quite a boyish thing to do. He was not old enough nor wise enough to know to call her Mystery.
The crickets kept chirping, the toads kept croaking, and the wind kept whistling. Every night on the hill felt like an enchanting dream to the children and this night was no different. Serenity and Tranquility seemed to keep the mosquitos away. Peace and Calm seemed to form an umbrella over the children, sheilding them from rainfall every night. Sometimes there were no crickets or wind or even fireflies but a streak of silence. It was not an eerie silence however, it was dreamlike. Grace would instead listen to her friend's breathing and prepare wishes for shooting stars. Timothy would do just the same. Of course, he would never admit this to Grace. He kept this little secret to himself, hidden in his mind somewhere between his dreams and his insecurities.
"You know when you're in the car at night and it's raining?" Grace knew that Timothy was not interested in her countless philosophies or silly ideas but she was still suffering from fire in her cheeks. She dreaded even the fireflies seeing her blush, much less Timothy. It seemed that the way to rid herself of the fire was to change the subject.
Timothy hid his smile again. He knew that Grace knew that he was anything but interested in her random train of thought yet she chose to tell him anyway. How very like Grace, he thought. "We talked about this before, Grace...how you like how the rain looks as it trickles down the windows."
"Yeah well, I also like how the traffic lights and car lights look through the rain and the windows. The lights look like twinkling stars. It's almost magical. It reminds me of Peter Pan...I want to fly away to Neverland with him and never grow up. I know it sounds silly, Timothy, but I like to think it's a good silly. The kind of silly that brightens up rainy days." Timothy did not think it was silly. He thought it was marvelous.
He smirked. "That's not silly, Grace. It's stupid. Where do you think up things like that?"
Grace hesitated. "I don't know...everywhere. I wish you would think up stuff sometimes too, Timothy."
Timothy turned to look at Grace and saw she was leaning so she faced away from him. He shook his head, got up, and walked around her. Timothy then laid down an arms length away from her once more, but stared into her eyes, glistening in the moonlight. They were a deep brown like his but he had never noticed before. He wondered how many other things he didn't notice. "I don't think I can, Grace. I don't want to anyway. It's stupid and girly and-"
"I wasn't gonna say that. That would be stupid." Of course Timothy thought her ideas were beautiful. She was beautiful. Inside and out. He had just never truly seen before.
"Sure you weren't?" Grace frowned and turned onto her back again. She began counting stars and wondering some more. Grace spent a lot of time wondering. She wondered how big the universe was and how many rain drops touched her window yesterday. She wondered what it was to grow up and if she was growing up as she was thinking about growing up. She wondered if Timothy really thought her ideas were stupid. Most of all, she wondered if Timothy noticed her as much as she noticed him.
"I'm sure, Grace." Timothy said after much hestitation. "Now shut up...I'm trying to look at the stars." How much like a boy, Grace thought. Her eyelids fluttered and a soft wind passing over her face drew them shut. She slipped into a fanastic dream where there was a brown-eyed boy with a crown of wildflowers who called himself Peter Pan. And he stole her away, taking her to a wonderful place among the stars where they would never have to grow up.
Timothy gazed at the stars and managed to find the big dipper. He pointed up to the sky and traced it. The stars seemed so tiny to him from his little hill and he thought about how big they really were. If they were alive, they would think him to be like a speck of dust. Timothy's face beamed with excitement, for he had a beautiful thought! He had an idea worth sharing with Grace and then he could tell her how he did not really think she was stupid and how she was beautiful and how her eyes are brown like his and...Timothy turned to his side and saw Grace fast asleep in the grass. He laughed to himself for a moment. He had only the fireflies to talk to now.
He watched her for a moment and listened to her breathe. Her hand was outstreched in his direction, as if he was to take her somewhere. Neverland. How childish it all is, he thought, but quite wonderful and mysterious all the same. Wonderful. Mysterious. How those words described her! But she can not be but two words, Timothy remembered. She is all of the purest, most beautiful words. And as he felt himself drifting off, he thought of her and only her. He thought of her eyes and her ideas and her hand reaching out to him in the grass. As he fell asleep he put his hand in hers, knowing that when they both awoke they, rulers of the not-so-boring grassy hill, would surely notice.