Seeing Owls

Author: Coni

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to me!

Summary: A ten-year-old girl relates her story about her best friend and her experience with life.

A/N: Second part. R/r!

Part 2

As my new friend, Debbie took me to parts of the town, to show me around. I thought we would probably go to the small line of stores a few minutes walk from our street. Mom and I had already been there, to the dusty and dark grocery store to buy some crackers and milk; and then to the diner next door to have a hamburger for lunch. I figured that it wouldn't be anything special.

The first time she came to our door, my mom answered it, and Debbie said, "Can Cassie come out and play?"

My mom squinted at her a bit. "You're the little girl from across the street, right?"

Debbie nodded, and a few minutes later my mom was nudging me out the door, Debbie was grabbing my wrist, and we were running down our driveway.

"C'mon!" she yelled happily. "I want to show you something!"

And when we turned off the road leading to the grocery store, I started to wonder. We trampled through some tall dead grass, and through some brown-looking leafless trees. Finally, we arrived at a huge and ancient tree, its arms reaching up to every part of the sky. By it was a little creek, except the water was all but gone, and had turned a dirty brown.

"Here," said Debbie proudly. "This is my tree and my creek."

"It's your tree?" I asked disbelievingly, and a bit annoyed at having to come to this ugly and boring place. "Why?"

"Well," Debbie frowned slightly. "No one wants it. It doesn't belong to anyone. So I made it mine."

I was still reluctant, but I still let her show me the little line of ants crawling up the trunk, and the tiny fish wiggling in the water, and an empty nest she claimed was the home to a family of owls.

"Owls didn't live there!" I said scornfully.

"How would you know?" she said. "You just moved here. I've seen tons of owls. Millions and millions. Whole families. Mommy owls with their baby owls, and the daddy owls protecting them."

That's how I found out she liked owls too.

As I knew Debbie better and better, I learned that she tended to embellish things, just turned things like seeing one owl into seeing a whole family of them. She wasn't lying, exactly; she just liked to add pretty things to her stories, like a cherry on an ice cream cone. She told me a lot of nice stories about owls and ants and how her tree was a magical tree that sprinkled fairy dust at midnight.

And a lot of times, I wouldn't believe her, and then we'd get mad at each other and argue. I would keep telling her that the tree didn't really have fairy dust, she was just making up, but I didn't tell her how much I liked the story. It was just so nice, because she could see fairy dust in tree while I only saw dead bark.

And even though the tree story wasn't true, the owl ones were…just a bit exaggerated. There were many owls by the prairie. I saw a lot of them after the first day, flying around, specks of brown against the blue sky.

Later, I wanted to learn how to draw an owl, and figured that Debbie would be the one to teach me. So she drew one for me, but it looked more like…an egg.

"That's no owl!" I exclaimed when she showed me. "It's a plain old egg!"

She was suddenly defensive. "Is too! It's an owl sleeping," and she proceeded to show me its eyes and how it was curled up like a ball. "Only grown-ups never get it…and it's because they can't see anything…"

I studied it for a bit longer, because I wanted to see what she saw, and not be like a grown-up. And I managed to see the owl, saw an owl in the plain and boring-looking egg. Managed to see everything in almost nothing, and that was how Debbie saw, how she viewed the world.

I asked her why grown-ups would never get it.

"They're always so busy, they never try and think about it, because they always need so many details, they don't use their…imagination." She then proceeded to draw me another owl. This one was perched on a branch, had little lines for feathers, and its wings were spread out. Then she gave me what she must've thought was a really serious look. "If you ask me, it's better to be a kid. We can see."

I nodded, and she suddenly launched into one of her stories. "You know those glasses grown-ups always wear? See, now I think they stop them from seeing. Because we kids have a magical power to see better things, and because grown-ups have classes, they can't see…"