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The Wishing Map
Chapter Fourteen: Two Spoos (Continued)
Previously: Feeling completely alienated from their friends and from one another, Gina and Zack headed home.
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Mom and Zack got home at 8:43. Zack excused himself and shuffled up the stairs. He sat in his room staring at the stacks of perfectly categorized comic books for half an hour.
There was a sudden knock.
“Can’t…not dressed…in bed…”
The door opened. It was Gina. “Spoo?”
Spoo was the universal form of address in a language known only to Zack and Gina Dore; they had spoken it as far back as they could remember. There were other oo words, as well.
“Moo,” Zack answered.
Gina crossed over and sat next to him on the bed. She put her arm around him. He didn’t respond, but he didn’t pull away either.
“I’m doo, spoo.”
“Birdy busted me.”
“She said I play pretend as much as you do. Only I call it ‘theatre’ and think that makes me sophisticated.”
Zack’s crooked grin appeared.
“And I don’t hate you. I only said that because I’m doo.”
“True,” Zack replied. After a long time, he said, “Me too.” And then he added, “Two spoo doos.”
They laughed. Hard. The wall between them began to crumble. And then Gina erupted: “I adopted a dragon! I fell on his egg, then I helped him break out, but he was freezing. I was afraid he might die, so I put him on my lap, and I wasn’t allergic to him! His scales are amazingly soft, and, oh, Zack, he’s so adorable. He has this sweet growly little voice that… Anyway, I messed up when I sang to him.”
“Rhema the Faerie Queen told me that I connected my life to his when I sang to him, which is bizarre and completely unfair—I mean, it’s not like I knew that! Then I met this kid named B’frona who was supposed to be dragonfaer, but when I sang to Puff, I became dragonmeer instead. He’s an orphan, only no one knew until I outed him, so now he’s seriously ticked, but everyone else thinks I’m this superhero female knight, and, oh, spoo, they expected me to stay there and raise Puff and protect the town, and I really really wanted to, but then…” (She couldn’t bring herself to tell what happened next.) “…but then I left.”
“Yeah, that pretty much says it!”
“I kissed a girl.”
Gina’s eyebrows rose to meet her scalp.
“Well, actually she kissed me. Just a little, but I mean…she’s a cloud shepherd and she kinda captured me, only after a while I didn’t mind. Oh, Jeen, I started to turn into a sylph, and then I started to forget everything, even you! But then Aviar made me eat dirt and I started to change back. Now I’ll never see her again!”
“That sucks, spoo!”
“Yeah.” He stared at the old rag rug that had served as terrain for a thousand miniature adventures. “Why do I feel like I left home when I left Ismara?”
“I don’t know, but I do too, spoo.”
They could never go back, but at least now there would be someone to share the weight of the loss. They stayed up half the night giving detailed accounts of all that had happened in Ismara.
Just before she went to bed, Gina said, “Just as well, I guess. I mean we’d probably die if we ever went back.”
So why did they want so badly to go back?
Thoughts: Is there someone who, snits and squabbles aside, you would be utterly alone without?
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