Welcome Noah, We Missed You

Chapter Two

When we sat for dinner you were all I could see and your brothers were on either side of you, big hulking football players that could tear me to shreds but I didn’t care because I was imagining what my first kiss would be like, and I was imagining it with you. “Dad,” you said, addressing him but looking right at me. “May Noah, and I be excused? I want to show him my collections.”

Your dad glanced at my plate, and the food I picked around it, and then your empty plate, and then nodded his head in consent. I got up and my mother tugged at the sleeves at my sweater before allowing me to leave the room with you. You stood beside me, hardly a step ahead of me, and led me to where I had presumed was your bedroom. “I’m sorry about your mom,” I had said to you because I remembered then that she was gone, and that it was a horrible thing and that I would have given my life if she could have kept hers even though I did not know her.

I also remembered that you had lied, and that you’re mother had not picked you up from the train station, and then I wondered who did. You cleared your throat, and responded, “Noah.” So I said, “Sawyer.” And we let it be. Your room was in the back of the house, just off the kitchen. It smelled of fresh paint, and the outer wall was mostly window. Your room was very you. Of the three walls, two were painted white, while the last wall was covered in maps tacked to the wall.

“Is that your collection?” I had asked you. “Maps?” And you had responded, “One of them.” You collected lots of things. I collect now too. I collect things that remind me of you. I’ve filled many rooms with the memory of you; I can walk into the den and almost feel you there now. You crouched on the floor, and pulled a box out of your bed. It was an old shoebox. And then you looked up at me so I sat down across from you. In the shoebox was a jar of seaglass you said you had collected with your mom one summer in Bar Harbor. And there was another box inside and inside that box was a bunch of coins you said you had flattened against railroads in all the places you had visited.

You also told me your family traveled a lot. Or at least you guys did, until your mom died and then your brothers yelled at your father for moving you guys so much, so now you’re here where you said you’ll be staying until you go off to college. I felt terribly then because I was happy even though you lived a very misfortunate life. But it made my heart smile to know you would be around because I wanted to keep you.

“There’s more, if you’d like to see,” you had said to me when silence had fallen on us like a fresh coat of snow, melting through our tufts in a moment’s time. I nodded deciding if it had anything to do with Sawyer Lynn, I wanted to know about it. You pulled out a suitcase then, this very worn thing, and unzipped it. Inside there was an array of things. “This is my cigar box collection,” you said picking up a few vintage metal tins with wearied pictures on the front. I was afraid to touch them; they looked far more aged than what aged looked like.

“I’m a collector,” you said at last, glancing around your room. I looked too. There were shelves everywhere – a shelf with apothecary bottles, books everywhere. There was an arrangement of vintage mirrors, and on a desk a collection of seashells, and pinned to a bulletin board were a bunch of cameos. “I recently started collecting skeleton keys, they’re a bit hard to find but the best collections are the hardest to fill I think. I’m ready to start another collection though.”

I stared at you, you were smiling softly at me like you knew exactly what I was going to say, and what you were going to say, and how this was going to turn out. “What more can you collect?” I asked with a grin of my own, kidding you.

“I want to collect,” you said. “Adventures.”

I wondered what you meant, how you could collect adventures, but apparently you knew.

“And I want you to help me.”
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I thought I was going to delete this but it turns out I know what I want to do.
I always write about strong female leads....I'm such a feminist. :0