Bobby and Johnny were 11 and always hid out in their tree house. Now, years later...
Bobby loved trees, the dense leafy shade of maple, pines to hide behind, oaks that held a swing, elms that soared, apples that give him... apples... to throw at me, Mary Beth!
His favorite tree grew in his friend's backyard. Johnny had a treehouse.
They would sit in it all summer, even sneak up there in winter to pretend they were abom... abomin... snowmen. He called Johnny Jack Frost. He never told us what Johnny called him.
I wish he would've.
I remember a summer day in 1957. It was cold and rainy, a storm brewing, snow in the mountains, but everyone knew the two of them would be in the treehouse plotting something.
Boys will be boys... if they only knew.
They were 11 and curious about everything.
That day was the day Johnny started fading. We didn't notice at first. Bobby always smiled and invited Johnny everywhere. They were inseparable; yet, one could tell that Johnny's smiles didn't light up his face. The mask was firmly placed and no one but Bobby knew what was behind it. And Bobby wasn't talking.
That day... it was a Tuesday... funny to remember that... they had found a kitten that was lost and were playing with it. That kitten... what happened to it... ah... Mrs. Baker took it in because Johnny wasn't allowed to keep it. Kept her company until they both turned old and grey. What was its name?
That Tuesday, around 2 in the afternoon, a big wind came through and we all went into the storm cellar when the house began to shake. Except Bobby and Johnny and Tippy... I knew I'd remember his name. They were fine. Mr. Fink's outhouse tipped over and Mrs. Baker's undies flew through the air; but, except for a few leaves, the trees were spared. Nevertheless, Johnny wasn't the same.
Years later, when Johnny ran away, Bobby disappeared. Oh, Robert sat right where Bobby always used to sit... at school, at church, at the kitchen table, but Bobby wasn't there. And after Viet Nam, he literally disappeared. Said he couldn't take the noise, the way he was treated. He said he wanted to become invisible, like Johnny, so he did.
I hadn't heard from him in... 15... no... 18 years, until today.
I barely recognized his trembling voice.
"Mary Beth, I found Johnny."
Chapter 2: "Jack Frost"
© Copyright 2021 Kåre Enga [178.162] (23.juni.2021)
About 385 words.
Prompts: boy, treehouse, lost.