Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The family traveled from San Diego to New York, New York to Istanbul, Istanbul to Kayseri, and then collapsed into a hotel room for only few hours before heading out for their day tour. The trio–Mom, Dad, and six-year old son– climbed into the shuttle bus, nodded at all the passengers, and moved to the back seats.
Their son and I sat across from each other at lunch. He watched me eat. I watched him eat. Outside, we traded occasional glances, and as we got back into the bus he chose to sit closer to me. Eventually we talked a bit–about baseball and monkeys. On a short hike, I saw him watching. So I began to skip, every few steps, walking as though nothing was happening, but sometimes hopping or skipping. He laughed. He followed suit, he followed close.
Later we would climb up on rocks, he would hold his father’s hand for help and the boy and I would jump to the ground at the same time. He was in charge of the countdown from three. We skipped later, we smiled at each other. Near the end of the day, during the hour-long drive back to our hotels, just as many of my fellow travelers were dozing off in their seats, a small voice speaks: “There’s something coming from the volcano-ey.”
“What do you mean?” His father asks in a stage whisper.
“See it? That’s the volcano-ey.” The boy points to a peak that the guide had earlier identified as a volcano. He rubs his tired eyes. “Look at the smoke. There’s smoke up there. Should we be driving faster?”
“No, no, that’s a cloud, my son. Try to get some sleep.”
“I’m really not sleepy…volcano-ey, volcano-ey. Dad? Can I go sit by Paige?”
And I beam as the sun begins to set.