Shining On

Shining On by Lois Lowry

Book: Shining On by Lois Lowry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lois Lowry
stood up, ignoring the hand he put out to help me.
    “Let's walk downstream, then cross over the far bridge and walk around the tennis courts,” I suggested.
    “Fine.”
    We started walking. Kyle stuffed his hands in his pockets.
    “So tell me what you can see,” I said.
    “Huh?”
    “Describe what you can see.” I smiled at Kyle. “Unless of course you'd rather not.”
    “No, I don't mind. I just … OK. Well, we're walking beside the stream now and there are oak trees on either side of the stream and way over there is the car park and over there is the school and …”
    I put my hand on his arm. “That's not what I meant. Tell me what you can
see.

    “But I just did.”
    I gave him a hard look. “Kyle, have you got a scarf or a tie or something on you?”
    “I've got my school tie on. Why?”
    “Is it around your neck?”
    “Yes.”
    “Take it off and put it around your eyes.”
    “Come again?”
    “You heard right the first time,” I said, laughing.
    “Why d'you want me to do that?” Kyle's voice was wary, suspicious.
    “I'm going to take you around the grounds.”
    “With my eyes blindfolded?”
    I laughed at the panic in his voice. “That's right. You're going to have to trust me.”
    “But you … you can't see.”
    “So I've noticed,” I teased. “So are you going to do it, or are you going to chicken out?”
    Slowly Kyle removed the tie from around his neck and tied it around his eyes.
    “You've got to do it so you can't see anything,” I told him.
    “I have.”
    “No, you haven't.”
    “How did you know … ?” Kyle was amazed. It was very gratifying. “OK! OK! My eyes are totally covered now.”
    “Let me touch your face,” I said.
    I heard him lean forward. I ran my fingers lightly over his face. My fingers began to hum again as I touched his skin. He had a large forehead and a strong nose and a firm chin and his lips were soft. I couldn't tell about his eyes because they were covered with his tie. His tie smelled of sweet green and sharp, tangy gold. Belling Oak colors. I would've been able to tell the colors even if I didn't already know what they were. Satisfied that his eyes were indeed covered, I linked his arm with my own. He instinctively stiffened at that.
    “Don't worry, your friends won't be able to see us over here.”
    “It's not that,” he lied. “But suppose we end up in the stream or something?”
    “Then we'll get wet!”
    There was a pause; then Kyle laughed. His body relaxing, he said, “All right, then. D'you know where you're going?”
    “I know this school like the back of my hand. Don't worry,” I assured him.
    We walked for a minute, listening to the distant cheers and the occasional birdsong.
    “What d'you think of that tree?”
    “What tree?”
    “The one right in front of us. It's my favorite of all the ones here,” I said, adding, “No, don't,” when I felt his other hand move upwards to remove the tie from around his eyes.
    “But I can't see the tree. I can't see anything.”
    “See it without using your eyes,” I told him.
    “How do I do that?”
    I took Kyle's hand and stretched it out in front of him until it touched the tree trunk. “What does it feel like?” I asked.
    “Rough.”
    “What else?”
    “Cool. Sharp in places. Here's a smooth bit.”
    “And what does it smell like?” I asked.
    Kyle turned his head towards me.
    “Go on!” I encouraged. “It's National Hug a Tree Trunk Day! Tell me what it smells like and feels like.”
    Reluctantly, Kyle moved in closer to the tree. He stretched out his arms to hold it. I could feel he felt very silly.
    “It feels very strong. Like it could be here forever if it was left alone.” Kyle's voice grew more and more quiet, but more and more confident. “And it's got secrets. It's seen a lot of things and knows a lot of things, but it's not telling. And it smells like … like rain and soil and a mixture of things.”
    “Come on,” I said, taking his arm

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