C6 #6 Hidden Talents
Late nights are fun when you are busy chatting away with your best friend far across the world from you. That is how both Anna and Jo feel right now.
"What time will you sleep? Do you still have some papers to finish?”
“Are you sure you're doing okay there? What about that guy you mentioned last time? I remember he is the one who's the son of your Dad's colleague?"
Anna asks without a pause.
"You mean, Joshua Brown? He's in College, a freshman majoring in Math. He has been helping me out in my math studies. You know how I am with figures, right?”
“Luckily, Josh is very patiently explaining those confusing numbers to me. He argues that math is part of our daily living so I should get used to dealing with them. If you personally want my opinion, calculators, well, even phones can do that.”
Jo points out with conviction in her tone. She tries to talk casually when mentioning Josh but Anna knows her best friend really well. Jo likes Josh. Jo is just being herself. She always attempts to show disinterest in everything except about their friendship.
“But my papers are easy peasy! Our professor here says my essays are well written. I guess I have lots of practice when we've been writing to each other every day. I can't wait to give my letters to you when I get back.”
“Dad says his work will wrap up in time for my graduation here. So that will be a little less than a year from now.” She continues talking excitedly.
“Sorry Dad took so long. I miss you a lot you know, "Jo shouts loudly from the screen. The reception is crappy that she feels the need to shout to her friend.
Anna allows her friend to babble on with her stories. She loves listening to her stories about her life in Alaska.
"Congratulations! I'm so proud of you. I can't wait for you to get back!”
“Popsie says we can go camping when you get back. There's a lot of the forest we have not yet explored. I know you miss the forest too." Anna blurts out when she gets her chance to chime in the conversation.
"Yup, I can't wait for the greenery! Alaska is but tons and tons of ice. I tried going outdoors once with Josh but climbing our tree is much more fun than slipping down slopes!" Jo complains to her best friend.
There goes her best friend again. She is pretty sure that Jo somehow enjoyed her skiing with Josh. She smiles at Jo on the screen.
"You and Josh seem to be having fun together. I hope I get to meet him someday. Someone who teaches you Math stuff as patiently as I can is a guy I give two thumbs up." Anna teases.
"Well he is a lot mature than the guys there in our neighbourhood. He likes the outdoors than playing games in the net.”
“He likes to meet you too. Of course I told him a lot about my best friend. Maybe one time when we chat again I will make sure Josh is around so you could at least meet virtually."
Jo ignores her teasing. She definitely likes him. Anna concludes to herself.
"What's the name of that boy again you saw at our willow tree? Casper?" Jo asks, finally changing the topic.
"Stop that!" Anna exclaims as she turns to look at her mirror, her face blushing.
"What? Did I say something wrong?" Jo sounds surprised.
"Not you Jo, sorry," Anna explains, seeing her reflection in her mirror giving her a silly grin.
"Are you talking to your reflection again? So how's that reflection of yours? That's one of the things I miss when we're together. I can never stop being amazed with you and your hidden talents!" Jo laughs at her friend.
"It's just that she keeps smiling at me ever since I met Caspian!" Anna clarifies to Jo.
"So, this Caspian guy, is he cute? Do you meet him at our tree often? What is he like? Have you told Popsie and Marmee about him?" Jo teases her a bit.
"Please, not you too, Jo!” Anna complains playfully.
“He is kind of cute but in a weird way. He wears this brown outfit every time we see each other. I don't know if it's some kind of uniform or costume.” She says with a grin, envisioning again how Caspian looks with his clothing.
“I don't ask because I don't like to offend him." Anna narrates.
"I'm just glad that you found a friend when I left. At least now you have someone to talk to. I don't mind sharing our tree with your new friend. Just make sure to introduce him to me when I am finally back. I feel guilty leaving you." Jo explains thoughtfully.
"So, where does he live? Does he go to the same school? What about his parents?" Jo adds.
"Caspian never mentions his parents. He told me he lives beyond the other side of the forest. Remember the valley that Popsie said that caught fire when we were still babies? That's why Marmee doesn't like us to go beyond the usual trail that Popsie takes when he jogs every morning." Anna recalls.
"Hmm, so there are people living there again? I thought it was a deserted place because a lot of people are scared of what happened there?” Jo ponders.
“My Dad says that place used to be so beautiful. There are so many extra ordinary plants and trees growing. In the past, there were fresh produce market there and people go there to buy their veggies, herbs and other stuff.”
“It sounds like a cool place to visit then. Mom even said that there used to be a farming settlement there so the place was well kept right before the fire.”
“Too bad we were just babies at the time to see for ourselves the beauty of that place.” Jo points out.
"But what is Caspian doing so far away from their place?" Jo sounds puzzled.
"He says he has been going to our tree for a while now but told me no one sees him.”
“According to him also, he even knew how you look like. He said he has seen us when we were still kids just like him. We climb the tree and he was there just with his stick.”
“Caspian loves drawing on the ground. That's how I saw him on my sixteenth birthday. A bit weird huh?" Anna narrates.
"Yup, pretty weird because I would have noticed if there was a strange guy with a stick lurking around our willow tree. Well, you always have a knack for strange things.”
“Remember when you slipped from the willow tree when we were seven? I thought you'll hurt your head but you hit the ground without a scratch. Your locket suddenly glowed nonstop." Jo reminisces.
"A lot of weird things but I never told anyone anything. Not even Popsie or Marmee. I'm scared they might think something is wrong with me. They always look so worried about me, like something might happen to me, especially Marmee." Anna says as an afterthought.
"I'm glad I have you," Anna blurts out.
"You have never made me feel different. Anything you see odd about me or what happens around me, you just get amazed but never look at me like I'm scary or creepy. That’s why I miss you terribly." Anna reminds her friend.
"Same sentiments for me right here my friend! I'm glad to have you to tolerate all my quirks. We have such a weird friendship.” Jo jokes around.
“Okay, Anna, let's sleep now, before I start crying here! You take care of yourself, Anna. Say hi to Caspian for me. Sweet dreams!" Jo ends the video chat.
Anna smiles as she shuts off her computer. She turns to look at her reflection again.
"Stop teasing okay? We are just talking about Caspian because Jo asked. Is that clear? So now we are both smiling..." she says then turns her light off.
After a while, Anna's breathing steadies. She has fallen asleep with a smile on her face.
In the darkness of Anna's room, her locket starts to glow steadily. From outside, it looks as if she has caught a firefly in a jar, but the glow emitting, instead of a yellow light, is green...