Ted Shimmin was the only boy in Lizzie’s class who lived in a home for lost children. The home was behind Lizzie’s orchard wall. Sometimes she heard bird-like calls but when she climbed up and peered over, she saw no one. When Lizzie asked her mother why the lost children were only allowed out for school she smiled with ruby lips, “They’re bad children, they even tried to steal our apples.”
When Lizzie lay in bed dreaming softly about being able to fly she heard a bird calling Tsyoo-tsyoo-tsyoo-tswee. Through her dusky bedroom window she saw Ted flying away behind the orchard wall. The next morning as her mother did her braids Lizzie said, “Ted can fly.”
Her mother kissed Lizzie’s head and sent her off to school. In an isolated corner of the schoolyard, Lizzie circled around with her arms outstretched crying, “Caw caw caw-cha-cha.” She stopped when she saw Ted.
He said, “What are you doing?”
“Flying,” she replied as if Ted had asked a stupid question. Lizzie saw herself like a pale flicker in Ted’s sharp eyes as he took out a perfectly red apple from his raggedy pocket and bit into it.
Originally published by Paper Swans