I was up on the roof looking for the spot under the back porch eaves where I suspected squirrels were getting into the attic. That was when I heard the sweetest of sweet sounds.
“Hello, Amelia,” I said without turning around.
“How did you know it was me?”
“From the strong wing flappings I heard and the light sound of your feet as you landed on this old metal roof. You are the most excellent flyer of all.”
“Did you know you left the top run door open even though the bottom one is closed?”
“It sounds like you did that on purpose.”
“So why would you do that?”
“Because I wanted to have some time just with you, away from the others.”
“What if something had gotten in?”
“Gracie wouldn’t let that happen. And you know Emily is always first to sound the alarm. I listen. Even up here on the roof where they can’t see me, I listen.”
“It’s very nice up here.”
“Yes, I know. The world looks very different up here, doesn’t it?”
“It does. And I like having the nice view without the steady wing flapping to stay up this high.”
“Tell me something, Amelia.”
“Would you stay up here with me until the sun goes down and the city lights come on? I’d like to look at the downtown lights and the stars from up here with you.”
“We can do that. I think I would like that. I won’t be able to fly down safely in the dark.”
“I will carry you. I brought up my tool bucket.”
“The one with the rope?”
“Yes, the one I use to bring up my tools and lower them down again.”
“You think of everything.”
“Not really, but I’m glad you think so.”
She helped me find the hole under the eaves. Then after she was quite sure there were no squirrels in the attic, she watched as I nailed a board over the hole.
While she surveyed all that could be seen up and down the street and around the neighborhood, I lay down on my back and looked up at the clouds as they passed overhead. With the angle of the roof, it was a perfect view.
I suddenly felt sad for Amelia and the others because chickens can’t lay on their backs like this. Even though we were in the same place and Amelia was right beside me, we couldn’t see the same way.
But Amelia flew up higher and perched on top of the kitchen chimney, as high up on the house as there was to perch, and that was something I couldn’t do.
I think she may have felt sad for me not being able to have the same view she had because she said, “I wish you could see the way I see.”
“I do too, Amelia. Your eyes are pure and innocent, and I love you for that.”
Then we stayed up there just like that for the longest time without speaking. Sometimes it is that way. You can say a lot without saying anything at all.
From the roof, I heard the other chickens making their way up their ladder and into the coop for the night. Emily and Gracie had a brief argument over who was going to roost where.
“They always do that,” commented Amelia.
“Is that why you always go up last and take whatever space is left?”
“Partly. But I also have the best eyesight, and I don’t want to miss anything. I’ve always wondered about the glow in the sky when it gets dark.”
“Yes, the downtown lights. You will see them for yourself tonight.”
Then all was quiet up where we were and below too except for the sound of an occasional passing car.
“It all feels so beautiful,” she said.
“Yes. The stars are coming out now. They make patterns and pictures in the sky. If you learn them you will always know where you are. You will never be lost.”
We watched as the panorama of lights unveiled itself around us and above us.
“I feel so small and alone,” she said.
I got up and moved over to stand where she was still perched on the kitchen chimney. This one spot high above the world below was the only place I felt we had ever been eye-to-eye. Suddenly I was very grateful to whoever had unknowingly built this chimney at exactly this most perfect height.
“It’s alright,” I told her, as she turned to find my eyes. “And it will be alright. Just look at the downtown lights and the stars above with me, Amelia.”
I can’t really say I know for sure what she saw after the light from the setting sun had been replaced by the light of the stars. It was long past the time she would have gone up to join the others in the coop for the night.
“It all looks so beautiful from this place here with you,” she said.
She may have seen nothing through her own eyes and everything through my eyes. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. But I felt I was seeing the world through her eyes for a moment, and it all truly did look so beautiful.
Perhaps it is not so much what we see but who we see it with.
Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! This is one of the few stories I’ve shared where the final sentence was written first and then everything else was written later as a way to get to the final sentences. The illustration is perhaps the most realistic I’ve done for any stories. Amelia has helped me to see and to think in different ways.