Anxiously, every day, little Julian awaited at the bus stop. But he never went in for a ride. Christopher and Daniel looked at him from the windows, sometimes they would wave, others not. During the afternoon, Julian took the long route home, across the creek, near the chicken stables and around Mrs. Olvieri's garden. From time to time, he would follow the little chicks around, trying to catch them and sometimes he would receive a bundle of garlic for his mother, who was scared of being attacked by vampires in the night. Garlic was collected right before the summer solstice, since most of the feared creatures were known to come out during fall, or maybe because the italian community had a big festival to celebrate their heritage and harvest.
His shoelaces were filled with mud that day, so the dipped his feet, shoes and all, in the cold creek. In it, tiny fish would try to bite his toes unsuccessfully. Just in time before the rain, Julian ran across the field of daisies and got home to find out he was alone. Katherine, his older sister, had taken a like into the neighbor's older son, who was visiting from the city, and therefore was never home. Like every weekday, his mother was away working one of her odd end jobs, that somehow always delivered enough food for the table and enough heat for the furnace. Matilda, the unfortunate three legged dog that had adopted his family, was nowhere to be found.
Not one soul was in sight. Oddly enough, he had been looking forward to tell about his afternoon adventure to someone, but today there was nothing, not even an ear to listen. Probably out of boredom, Julian picked up an old journal he had been given at the start of the semester, but obviously ignored since words were not as fun as getting dirty, catching frogs or trapping ladybugs in pickle jars. Quietly he wrote down the images he had been holding in his memories to be able to tell out loud.
Roosters were singing when Julian woke up, having fallen asleep as he wrote about that day he found a deer and a goat drinking milk from the Rosario's pregnant cow. Suddenly he realized he was late for school. Terribly worried, Julian ran to the bus stop and in order to not get another tardy slip, he rode the bus to school for the first time in his life.
Unicorns adorned the book bag of the girl he sat next to, if he have had the guts to look up he would had known it was his neighbor Georgina, but he didn't. Visibly nervous, he looked up and around to see that most kids were not paying attention to him, or to anyone in particular. While the bus stopped on the last stop before the Parkways Middle School, were he attended the seventh grade, a group of students came in listening to a song that played loudly out of a pair of broken earphones tied to a walkman. Xóchil, the mexican girl that had moved to their town had dyed her hair green and had a nose ring.
"Yesterday I wrote for hours" he overheard her saying to one of her friends, that made him smile. Zero words were spoken between them, but from now on, Julian rode the bus to school.