Today, as we celebrate an Easter transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I share with you Chapter 2 of Wire: The Messenger Mouse. Following the disastrous try-out of last week, Ario and Wire meet up and have a heart to heart. Still bruised, Wire offers his yellow friend the best balm he has available to him, family.
I hope you have a safe refuge in this uncertain time and that you find yourself surrounded by the love of family, whether face to face or virtual. Happy Easter!
Ario moved away from the M.P.S. headquarters as fast as he could. He could feel the eyes of curious rodents and caught snatches of conversation about him as he travelled down the main path, but he ignored them. The situation played over and over in his head. Ario never met rodents as hostile as Mr. Blanco. Ario expected stares and whispers, but not a rude and public rejection. His heart ached.
The midday sun was at its zenith, dissipating the shadows on the main street. Behind him he heard the scratch of rodent feet scurrying on the crushed gravel of the path. Ario sighed- it was Wire.
“Ario! Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Just needed to think, is all.”
Wire stood in front of him and looked directly in his eyestalks. Ario could see a watery gleam in his friend’s eyes. “Sorry, Ario. I can’t believe how they treated you! I’m so embarrassed.”
Wire moved to Ario’s side and they continued in silence down the path towards a park tucked against the trunk of the lace-leafed maple tree. It was deserted, the rodents out on the main street busy with errands and jobs. Ario slid to a bench nestled between two roots and drew himself into a loose coil. Wire took off his battered messenger bag and sat silently on the bench beside him. The park was cool and quiet. Ario’s heart began to un-squeeze.
“It happens all the time, little dude,” Ario said after a few heartbeats. “I would have prepared if I’d known what I was up against.”
Wire squeaked out a strangled “Sorry,” and bent his head to look at his toes.
“I never expected to win the try-out, but I didn’t think they’d be so mean, you know.”
“This has happened before?” Wire asked. “I’d no idea rodents could be so…”
“Species-ist?” Ario offered.
Wire nodded. “Well, and just plain rude. It wasn’t called for. At all.” The young rodent was absently stroking his ear.
“I’m sorry, little dude.”
“Why are you sorry? You did nothing wrong!” Wire dropped his paw and turned his body on the bench to look at Ario.
“I’ve got you mixed up in this. Those rodents saw you there with me.”
Wire pushed the idea away with his paw. “Never mind that. I can handle that. I’m sorry Mr. Blanco treated you so unfairly. And I’m embarrassed.”
The friends sat in the tranquil park, in silence, watching rodents hurry past on the main path, until Wire’s stomach gurgled.
“C’mon Ario,” Wire said, pulling the strap of his satchel over his head. “You can come home with me. I’m sure my aunt and uncle will welcome you.”
Still thinking about what had happened that morning, Ario only nodded. The bright banana slug and fuzzy messenger mouse turned away from the bustle of Upper Forest-side and towards the refuge of home and family.