Chapter 5 Enter Emily
I was watching as my Aunt was in the garden and the blonde girl with pig tails and glasses walked up to my aunt and said; “Hi Mrs. Johnson.” “Well hello right back to you Emily.” She said;. “So do you want me to help you in the garden today?” “Well sure you can!” Aunt Ida said;. “Just let me get an extra pair of gloves and a shovel so you can help me weed. You know how much I enjoy your help.” Aunt Ida said with a smile. Aunt Ida wandered into the storage shed to fetch some gloves and left Emily standing at the fence. She was leaning onto the small picket fence, she had a piece of grass sticking out of her mouth and she was wearing a funny straw hat. Kind of like what Huck Finn liked to wear. She was wearing shorts and a tank top and was wearing flip flop sandals. I was sitting nearby on the porch when she turned and noticed me… “Who are you?” “I have never seen you before have I?” I looked at her and shook my head no. “So do you live here now? “What is your name?” She started firing off several questions, but the only answer I seemed to come up with was “My name is John, John McMurphy.” “Oh, she said, McMurphy is an odd name, I never heard that name before?” Aunt Ida returned with the gloves and saw that Emily and I were talking a little. “Well John, come over and meet Emily proper.” “She was in my class last year.” I walked over with my hands in my pockets and stood next to the fence. That surrounded her garden. Emily by this time had went inside the gate and was given the gloves and shovel and was proceeding to weed in the flower bed. “So what have you too been talking about?” “Not much.” Said Emily. “He doesn’t talk much.” She was sitting on the ground with her legs straight out in front of her while she pulled some weeds that Aunt Ida had pointed out to her. “Do you want to help me pull weeds John?” Emily said; “It’s kind of fun especially when you can smell the flowers when you are up real close.” “Sure go ahead John, I could use all the help I can get. It seems I have gotten behind in my weeding.” “Here John, I happen to have an extra pair of gloves in my apron, You take them.” I took the gloves. And came through the gate and knelt down in the grass. Being up so close to the roses you could really smell their heavy scent. It was like strong perfume. Like the kind my mother used to wear. “Here, I will show you what to do.” Said Emily. She took my hands and placed them in the dirt along with the shovel. “Here.” She said: “Place the shovel in the dirt under the weed and dig really hard then pull them out with your hands.” I tried it and it was very strange. I had never dug in the dirt before. It felt good! I liked sticking my hands in the cool dirt, getting my hands and knees all dirty. It was like I was getting all dirty and not getting in trouble for it. I found I was really comfortable around Emily. There was something about her I liked. Something pure, kind, and sweet. So there we were all three of us digging, and weeding. After a while aunt Ida asked if we would like some ice cold lemonade and cookies for all the hard work we were doing. “That sounds great! Mrs. Johnson.” Emily exclaimed. “Sounds good.” I said. Well both of you can take your gloves off and come with me to the house to wash your hands. We left our weeding tools behind and went into the house where Ida had already had some lemonade made and some fresh baked cookies. We went outside to the back patio in the cool shade of one of the old oak trees. I slumped down into one of the patio chairs and I drank the lemonade in big gulps, It was hot outside and the cold drink hit the spot. “It sure is nice when you come over to visit Emily.” “George and I haven’t seen much of you lately?” “Yes, I know.” She said. “I was gone on vacation with my parents and we just got back a couple days ago.” “Did you go on vacation with your parents John?” asked Emily. I looked down at the ground at my feet as I was eating one of the cookies and did not reply. Aunt Ida spoke up. “Emily, John has lost his parents in a terrible accident a month ago and it is a tough subject right now.” “We all are having a hard time with it still.” “Oh, I’m sorry Mrs. Johnson.” Emily said. “I didn’t mean to pry.” “That’s okay Emily, you didn’t know.” So we all three sat there in silence for a few minutes. “Emily spoke up first. “John, would you like to come to my house sometime?” “You could try my swing set or we could ride bikes?” John said; “I don’t know how to ride a bike.” “That’s okay I can teach you. I know how to ride really good!” “Well John.” Aunt Ida said; “It looks like that would be a nice idea.” “She probably knows much more about riding a bike than George and I do.” “We haven’t ridden a bike in years…” “So John, do you have a bike?” asked Emily. “I do, I stammered.” “Well great!” Emily said.
I didn’t know what to do next. This girl was sure bossy. But in a nice way. I didn’t want to say no, because I really did want to learn how to ride and since she was a little older than me she had been riding her bike for a while already. I wanted to ride a bike really bad! Emily asked my aunt if she could run home real quick and ask her mom and dad if she could get her bike and show me how to ride. My aunt and uncle said of course she could. And as quick as a wink she ran down the block her pig tails flopping as she was holding on to her hat you could hear the sound of her flip flops smacking the pavement as she ran. Smack!, Smack!, Smack!… Uncle George got the bike out of the garage and wiped it off until it was real shiny. It was a stingray with high handlebars and a long banana seat with a sissy bar in the back. Down the block appeared Emily fast approaching on her bike. I thought she was going to hit me when she hit the peddle break and screeched to a stop. “So, you ready John?” Emily smiled and gave a bit of a smirk. I said; “Okay, I guess so.” I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. But it sure sounded like fun to me! Anything to help keep my mind on something else.
Emily directed me to the sidewalk in front of the house where she sat on her bike and demonstrated to me how to sit on the bike and how to work the brake pedal and how to steer. “Sit up straight like this, and push off on the pedals real hard and keep pedaling. Don’t quit pedaling or the bike will stop and you will fall right over.” She said; Aunt Ida and Uncle George were watching the scene from the porch smiling from ear to ear. “Like this.” I said. As I sat on the bike I tried to push off from the ground and tried to pedal. I fell over the first time and got a little discouraged, but Emily kept encouraging me. “Don’t worry.” Emily said. “That happened to me lots of times before I got it right.” Time after time I kept trying. And again and again I kept falling. But each time I tried I got a little braver and stayed on a little longer. All the while Emily was riding beside me encouraging me. Finally on the tenth try I started to peddle my best and tried to steer straight when all of a sudden I was moving! I was riding! Emily said “That’s it John!” “You are doing it!” “I looked at the passing ground and kept peddling. I was a little wobbly, but I was moving. Then after a number of feet I stopped and fell to the side exhausted. Aunt Ida and Uncle George both were cheering on the sidelines and said “Bravo!” “Good job John!” I sat on the ground as Emily came up to me on her bike and said; “See.” “I said you could do it!” “After you fall a few times it gets easier.” “I fell a whole bunch before I could ride.” So we decided we had had enough excitement for the day and I needed to nurse a few bruises, but I didn’t let Emily know that because I was a boy and she was a girl. Well, you know what I mean… We walked the bikes up to the house and set them down and went inside.
I could tell Emily had been in the house before because she headed straight for the library. It seemed she was quite a book worm. Aunt Ida said she was the brightest student in her class. I totally forgot about school? School was starting in a month and I wasn’t even sure of what school I was going to? “John.” Aunt Ida Said; “We are going to have to sign you up for school for the Fall.” “Would you like to go to school at the same school that Emily goes to?” “Sure, I guess?” “Well, it is the same school I teach at, so I will get you enrolled in a couple weeks. They will have an open house later this month.” Aunt Ida said. I wasn’t sure what to think. I knew I could not go back home to Seattle to go to school. But the few friends I had were over there. But Emily seemed pretty nice, for a girly anyway. So how bad could it be?