Heat radiates from the sidewalk, a constant pulse of energy that never fades. The soft breeze carries the scent of honeysuckle. Oscar scowls and rips another fistful of crisp green grass from the freshly trimmed lawn.
He glances into the gnarled branches of the ancient tree above, the ones that hang low over the lake. Boys cluster together beneath, fishing poles in hand, flip flops stuck to their feet. One chuckles.
Another frown envelops Oscar’s face. Who cares about them? Fishing is dumb anyway. He snatches another fistful of grass. Bobby Horning can make fun of my bike all he likes. I’ll never go fishing with those jokers. No, thank you!
He runs a hand across his sweaty head, digs his heels deep into the sandy earth below.
A girl just his age rides by on an old lime green bike with big white tires and a fuschia basket. She gives him a smile.
Oscar grits his teeth. Stupid bike.
He looks up once more. The sky pale yellow and pink, the reflection of clouds against a deeper blue. Another tumble of breeze, that same floral scent, along with a sigh from the boy.
“You gonna sit there all day with a grump on your face, or ya gonna do some fishin’?”
Oscar jumps, as his eyes shift around. A man sits off to his left, white hair stuck beneath a bucket cap, crooked fingers gripped tight around a pole. His lips are pulled into what Oscar guesses is a smile, although it might just as easily be a grimace.
The boy wrinkles his nose. “What’dya mean, am I gonna do some fishin’? I ain’t got a pole.”
The man gives a harrumph. “Sure looks like ya wanna do some fishin’, the way you’re boring a hole right through them boys’ heads. I’da think you’da gone over, by now.”
Another scowl crosses Oscar’s face. “Naw. I don’t need‘em. They can have their fish. Don’ matter much to me, ‘nyway.”
A chuckle tumbles out of the man. “Sure seems like it does.” He shifts on his portable stool. “Why don’tya come on over here. Sure could use some help.”
The breeze tosses a curl across Oscar’s cheek, but he gives no reply.
“Come on. We all need a friend… once in a while.”
Oscar nibbles his lip. The man had a pile of fish already. It would be nice to join in. He swallows and gives a sniff. “Well, if ya need the help and all… I s’pose I could give a hand.”
A twinkle glitters in the man’s eye. “Sure would be nice of ya, young man.”
The boy stands and shuffles over, hands in his pockets.
“So what’s your name?”
“Oscar. Name’s Oscar.” He plops down in the grass.
“Nice to meet you Oscar. My name’s Sam. Sure do ‘ppreciate the company.”
The scent of honeysuckle drifts past once more. Then Oscar smiles.
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016