Chirping and leaves shaking could be heard. Will sat on the stonewall park bench, alone, and minding his own business to be quite frank. It was a lovely day out; the birds were enjoying it too, snacking on bugs and seeds he threw. He admired them, smiling softly.
His attention was then snatched away by what he had been waiting for all morning.
A red cardinal.
It was by far his favorite bird. He can admit it looks a little dumb, but he loves it no matter what. The colors were exceptional.
Will was a bird watcher, and he came up here everyday since the past few years to watch the bird. He had a couple bird friends here, and a couple just sang beautiful songs and minded their business just like Will. Which is why he liked them so much, they were beautiful by their own, not needing any help, not caring about the outside world.
Will kept to himself most days, he didn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend, his Mom and step dad were off on a zoology trip. They were slowly growing older, yet still they had a love for animals. His sister, Avery, and nieces, Claire and Percy, were very close, and he loved to play around with them, show them the beautiful birds at the park. They would play on the playground while him and his sister caught up, her showing him the latest funny and cute videos of his nieces being silly.
He was thinking of them now, and the happiness that they brought him. Distracted from his bird watching he barely caught a glimpse of the red cardinal flying off. ‘One day…’ He thought with longing. ‘One day we can be friends, you and I.’
It was a very peaceful day, one of the loveliest. He was basking in the life and freshness of the park when the bench suddenly dipped, startling him.
He turned his head, a little annoyed and confused, only to be met with what could only be described and a cheeky, smiley, bubbly boy wearing a pair of pastel blue overalls and black converse. His brown curly hair was a tad out of place, he looked a little flustered as well.
Will concluded the young boy had just finished sprinting from god knows where.
A hand was stretched out in front of him. “Hi! I’m sorry to disturb you, I’m Tom, your new bench buddy!” Will carefully took his hand and shook it gingerly, a tad confused for good reason. Tom took no notice and carried on. “The reason I’m out of breath a bit is because I ran here, you see, I’m a caterpillar watcher.” Tom explained half assed.
‘That must be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.’ Will agreed with himself.
“And this is the perfect weather for caterpillars, they love this warmth, look there’s one now!” They both turned their heads to the chairs rail, next to Will, as a green caterpillar slowly crawled across. Tom beamed with absolute wonder, but Will only shrugged and continued watching the trees that adorned the park like a crown.
Tom walked around to the Will's side and knelt to face the caterpillar. Will was astounded by Toms love for them. He couldn’t say the same. I mean can you blame him? His birds eat those caterpillars to live.
Tom saw Will looking at the birds, and cocked his head. “So why are you a bird watcher?” Tom asked while gently petting the caterpillar. “I don’t know, all my life I’ve just loved them, they’re pretty, and make beautiful songs.” Will contemplated it, he didn’t think there was need for a deeper answer. He mentally shrugged it off and repeated the question back to Tom. “Why do you like to watch your stupid caterpillars?” Ne asked, ruder than intended, not that he intended to be rude at all.
The wind picked up as he said that, almost as offended as Tom.
Tom glared at Will, and for a second the older boy thought he saw some tears appearing in his eyes. He immediately felt terrible. ‘why would I insult someone else’s preference, am I that rude? If the boy likes caterpillars then there’s nothing wrong with that you asshole.’ He spoke to himself. Will's face flushed a bit as he tried to apologize but was cut off.
“For your information caterpillars are wonderful, especially the scratchy ones. And for your information I’m not telling you!”
Tom had anger splayed on his face, and Will new what he had said wasn't right. “You’re right, I’m sorry, that was rude of me, I find them cute there’s nothing wrong with caterpillars or liking them.” Toms expression went softer, sensing Will's sincereness. “I forgive you, but don’t think about saying that cause it's just rude.
Caterpillar boy had one of the strongest cockney accents he had ever heard, which is unusual for where he lived.
Will sat in silence for the most part, Tom busy with keeping the conversation going. Every once in a while Will would give a response. A small 'yes' here a little 'sure' there, no matter Tom was very happy to have someone who was willing to sit and listen, because Will was an excellent listener. Tom was very pleased to learn that he didn't interrupt not once!
Will kept a keen eye on the birds, but after every sentence about caterpillars and every story of he could spit out, not once did the boy tell why he watched or liked caterpillars so much.
15 minutes turned into 20, 20 into 30, and before long an hour had passed of Tom's company. Caterpillar boy, tuckered out from talking for an hour, slumped in the bench, resting his head on his palm. Will sighed as he saw the worn out boy, 'finally tired out eh?'. "You know, I've been here for years why visit now?" Will asked, genuinely curious. He barely picked his head up at the question. "I could say the same for you, I've been coming here for a couple months and I've never seen you, It's nice to not be lonely again."
Will let out a thoughtful hum, deciding to call it a day. "Well, you look awfully tired, and I've got dishes back home, why don't you get some rest?" He looked down gently. Tom smiled at the strangers kindness. "That sounds like a fine idea!" The boy answered as enthusiastically as he could.
They both packed up, said their goodbyes, and soon Will was home, reading a book with some tea. He realized he quite enjoyed what happened, although it was odd for Tom to suddenly find him, but maybe a change of pace would be good, maybe a friend would be good. “Maybe I can see him tomorrow, as long as he doesn’t get in my way or be to rambunctious."
You had to give Will some credit, he wasn't great at social situations at his best, he often found himself saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, and tended to avoid talking for that reason.
Going to the park was one way for will to de stress, and feel at peace. The world was so big and fast, and he wasn’t ready for that. He learned quickly that he wasn’t like everyone else, he was calmer, couldn’t socialize, didn’t like many crowds. But there was something about Toms attitude that made him want the boy to come back, to ask for his number.
Tom in the meantime, was at home playing Xbox with his brother, Joe.
Joe knew nothing about videogames, which was frustrating when he saw Joe try to break wood with a pickaxe. “No Joe! You use an axe.” Tom eyed his brother warily. His older brother chuckled. “I don’t have one, I'll have to make one.”
They bickered a bit about the game mechanics and who was actually playing right, ending with Tom dying from 'Joe5 killed T00m34 with an axe'
Tom dropped his controller, and started running room to room, trying to dodge Joe's tickle attacks. “You get away Joe! Il hit you with my pillow so hard!” Tom yelled with a high pitched voice, spewing empty threats. Joe cornered him in their living room, not giving up even for a second. Joe successfully hit him over the head with a throw pillow, and they both flopped to the ground, tired and sweaty. Myrtle came over and licked their faces, making them giggle. “You’re so slow Tom, you need exercise.” Joe smiled, teasing his younger brother. “Shut up egg head.” Tom grumbled, but hiding a smile.