I hope we can all find light in the love we’ve lost.
Simon cried silently, his shoulders shaking as he watched his father place the last bit of soil over his beloved pet lovebirds. He stared down at the dirt as the final pieces of green coloring from the birds' fur was covered with dark rich soil.
Simon had his birds since he was only 6 years old. They were a Christmas gift from his favorite aunt who decided she would entertain his love for the little loveable creatures and give him some of his own. They were a beautiful bright green on their lower halves, which blended into a stunning yellow on their chests, followed by peachy-toned colored heads. Simon was in love in an instant, taking one look at them, and calling them Billy and Marty. His family had laughed at his choice of typical human-like names for his new tiny responsibilities.
He had them for 10 whole years, and they lived happy lives atop of Simon’s bedroom desk, always chirping happily and flying around their antique cage. But now it was time to say goodbye as they've succumbed to their old age.
Simon’s parents knew how devastated he was from the loss and did their best to make the blow a little less rough for him. His mother kept her hand on his shoulder as his father finished burying the little birds' bodies.
"Well...that'll do it.", his father said, staying put in his crouched position in the middle of the garden.
He turned back to look at him, "Hey, what do you say we plant some seeds over here for them. Grow some pretty flowers for Billy and Marty."
Simon only nodded. If he spoke, his words would only come out as choked sobs.
His father went ahead and grabbed some seeds to which he carefully scattered overtop of the miniature graves. Using only his hands, he covered the seeds with the soil and rose to his feet.
"Let's head inside and have something sweet why don't we?"
They made their way inside and Simon's mother gave him a bowl of ice-cream before they all said their goodnights and headed up to bed. Simon stared out of his bedroom window that had a full view of the garden and kept his eyes right on the burial spot. Once the dark soil was no longer visible to him with no more light outside present, he put himself to bed. Still grief-stricken and with burning eyes, Simon cried himself to sleep.
That was, until around 2:30 in the morning, when he was awoken by sounds of laughter coming directly from the ground outside his window.
Groggily, Simon lifted himself out of bed, rubbed his eyes, and cautiously walked over to his bedroom window to see what was going on. The patio lights were on, as they usually were when they detected movement, giving him the perfect view of the sight before him.
Sitting atop the birdy graves, and the soon to be sprouting flowers his dad had planted, were two boys around Simon's age in nothing but underwear and covered in what appeared to be soil.
The boys giggled as they shoved at each other's heads and playfully kicked each other's legs. Simon wiped the sleep out his eyes in an attempt to see the two more clearly. One of them had a milky tone to him that stuck out prevalently through the specs of soil all over his body, and messy light hair with a playful smile. The other had darker skin, his hair almost buzzed down to the scalp, with a charming and enticing smile. They were both sitting down, but he could still tell one was slightly taller than the other.
Normally, if Simon were to notice someone in his backyard, he would immediately go wake up his parents, but for whatever reason, he felt hesitant to do so. He stared at the boys as they played amongst each other in a child-like way, as if they were unaware of their surroundings. Suddenly, any fears or doubts that ever existed within Simon had diminished and he decided he was going to go out and talk to the pair sitting in his little birdy graveyard. As he was about to open his bedroom door, he stopped for a moment. He thought about his parents hearing and waking up, but then he remembered the heavy-duty earplugs they slept with in their ears and then nodded to himself before heading out carefully into his backyard.
Simon slid the backyard's sliding doors open and the two boys turned to look at him while still laughing away.
"Simon come join us!" Shouted the voice of the fair-toned boy.
Simon immediately shushed him as it was late and while his parents were out like they were in medically induced comas, he didn't want to wake any of the neighboring houses. And how did he know his name? Simon had never seen these boys in his life.
"Come sit Simey boy." The darker boy said with a smile.
Exhausted, disoriented, and overall just sad, Simon walked over to the garden without a doubt in the world and sat with the unfamiliar boys.
"I don't know what I'm doing out here.." Simon said as he looked down at the soil.
He really didn't know what he was doing. This whole scenario was completely outrageous. Waking up in the middle of the night to find two strangers sitting in your backyard and without question going on down and joining them? To Simon, this was completely unheard of. The boys just giggled, not seeming to want to entertain Simon's doubts, or even just wanting him to think of something else completely.
"Don't be silly Simey, we've only come to say goodbye", smiled the boy as the other rustled his aluminizing brown hair, earning another giggle from his mouth.
Simon had no idea what he was talking about and was too out of it to care. He was going to ask where they came from, why they were here, if they needed to get home to their parents, if they even had parents, but instead, he asked the only, probably most irrelevant question he could think of.
"What are your names?"
The boys smiled at him and laughed as if he was supposed to know.
"Billy”, the fair boy pointed to himself before motioning to the other, “and Marty.” Simon lifted his gaze from the soil to the two boys' faces. Billy and Marty? No. No, there’s no way. He was about to speak when the boy who presented himself as Marty quickly shushed him and smiled.
"It's okay. Just play."
He shoved some soil into Simon's hand and picked up some in his own, running it through his fingers and watching as the grains of soil made their way back onto the surface of the garden. Simon held the tiny pack of soil in his hand and watched the boys as they ran their hands through, as well as kneaded and prodded at the soil beneath them. Billy, as he called himself, began whistling a tune Simon knew all too well. A tune he'd always whistle to himself as he'd fill his birds' food and water trays. Simon was about to speak again, but Billy stopped him with a low shhh.
He continued to whistle the tune and as Marty did before, he placed some more soil in his hand gently. The soil suddenly felt warm and comforting in his hand. The feeling he got when he'd take his birds out of their cage and hold them gently in his palms. Marty spoke up in a hushed gentle tone.
"Everything is okay, Simey."
Everything is okay, Simon repeated in his head. He closed his eyes and listened to the soft whistle of his little tune coming from Billy.
Once he opened his eyes again, he was back in his bed, curled up with his hands under his pillow as he always had them when he woke up.
It was a dream, Simon thought to himself as he glanced over at his cluttered dusk where the now empty birdcage sat. He sighed and as he removed his hands from under his pillow to rub his eyes, he noticed, packed tightly into his left hand, was his father's garden soil.
Staring down at his dirty soil-filled hand, Simon began to whistle. This time a new tune. A new sound to go about his day to.
Everything is okay Simey