Not too far from Atherstine’s little house on her little street, is a little field lined with stones and flowers. Every day after school, the long yellow bus would drop Atherstine off and she would walk through the field of stones and flowers to make her way home. All the stones have different shapes and different names but Atherstine liked Eugene the most. The stone was heavy and strong and unlike the other stones, Eugene would speak to Atherstine. So, as she passed through, Atherstine made a point to walk by Eugene and give flowers she picked up.
“Good afternoon! These are for you.” Atherstine smiled.
“Good afternoon, Atherstine. Thank you very much.” Eugene responded. “How was school?”
“It was fine.”
“Well, I got in trouble because Becky and Lindsey were passing notes and Ms. September caught me trying to read them. I had to sit by myself during lunch and wasn’t allowed to play during recess.”
“I see. Did the other girls get in trouble?”
“No. Ms. September didn’t know who wrote the notes and I wasn’t going to tell. Becky and Lindsey are my friends.”
“Good for you. It takes a strong person to protect their friends.”
Atherstine lay on the ground next to the stone and stared up at the big puffy clouds, layering in such a way as to show the infinite depth of the bright blue sky. A soft breeze pushed the grass on the field and swept over the girl and the stone with a slight whistle.
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” Atherstine smiled.
“Oh yes. Quite beautiful.” It was a beautiful day
“Do you know what’s up there?”
“Rain.” Eugene answered kindly.
“Yes. I’m nearly certain of it.” Just then a large drop of rain fell right on Atherstine’s hand. She looked into the bright blue sky, curious which puffy cloud the rain could have fallen from .
“You should probably go home.” Eugene urged the girl.
“Okay.” Atherstine said, dusting the lose grass and dirt from her dress. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“I’ll be waiting.” Eugene whispered affectionately.
Atherstine skipped a bit before stopping suddenly to rush back to the stone to ask, “Can I take you home with me?”
“I’m sorry but I have to stay here. But you can visit me anytime you’d like.”
“Okay. And you’ll always talk to me, right?”
“You’re growing up, Atherstine. One day you’ll forget about me and I wont be able to talk to you anymore.”
“That’s not true. I’ll never forget.”
“You will, and it’s okay. But I promise, I’ll always be right here, waiting to listen to you any time, day or night.”
“No matter what?”
“No matter what!”
The girl looked down sadly, thinking about the day she won’t be able to listen to the talking stone’s kind words. “I miss you, Grandpa.”
“I miss you too, my little apple.”
Atherstine ran home to avoid the rain, and the talking stone waited there, just like he said he would.