Those Little Ships
By Christopher Jug George
Trudy was usually so close to Bud’s ear that he was used to her speaking softly to him. “Sometimes I look at the sky, Bud, and think it’s the sea. All of that blue with puffy white ships passing by all day long.”
A year later Bud had become accustomed to Trudy yelling, her voice traveling along the walls or through window screens or down the stairs. It made him think of the birds he would hear but could not see when he walked along the creeks in the surrounding Root River Valley.
Later, after she’d gone, he thought he could sometimes hear her sharp, sweet, chirping voice in the wind, carrying through those bluffs, believing it to be the sound of a ship blowing its horn in the distance.
He’d stand breathless, watching her sail across the backyard toward the woods where she would eventually slip in and disappear over the bluff with the sun and the moon. His body would point toward the woods when hearing branches crack, wondering if it was an animal or the wind or her.
He’d look at the swaying trees and subtly rock his body side to side in a lonely dance. He’d look up at the big clouds rolling through the sky above and soon he too began to imagine, as Trudy had told him, the clouds as ships, one after one, coming to pick her up at the top of the bluffs.
Later still, he started to wander the bluffs and get lost among the greens and browns of the valley. Looking up into the sky he started to imagine all of that blue to be the place all of the streams led to, filling it up for the ships, for the clouds.