“Kino?” asked the woman. He nodded. “Hi, Felicia Sommers, we spoke on the phone.”
“Yes. We did,” said Kino.
“My God, how is it so cool here?” she asked. “Oh, this is Joshua,” she said, introducing her son.
Kino bent down, ignoring the question, so to be on eye level with the young boy. “And how old are you?” he asked.
“Seven and three fourths,” said the boy.
Kino smiled at him. “My, getting up there aren’t you?” he asked.
Joshua looked up at his mother who smirked.
“Where do you go to school, Joshua?” Kino asked.
“Mom teaches me,” he said.
“I see. Well, let me show you around,” he said, leading them up the steps and into the house.
He showed them through the house. It was not overly nice, but it was clean and liveable. Two bedrooms worked very well for them, though the lack of a television made the boy’s face fall. His mother, on the contrary, was pleased.
“Why do you want to move to the desert?” asked Kino. “Few people want to live out here unless they are farmers.”
There would be no friends for Joshua. What would a boy of that age do in the middle of the desert with only his mother as company? Kino didn’t know. He wanted a real answer. What were they running away from? And he looked at Felicia accordingly.
Her eyes flickered behind heavy lids at his gaze. “Joshua, wait outside for a moment. Can you?” she asked her son.
Joshua nodded and stepped out.
“He’ll probably have his ear pressed to the door,” said Felicia.
“I did the same kinds of things when I was a boy,” said Kino.
“It’s his father,” said Felicia. “We’ve left him. He’s not exactly the kind to give up easily.”
Kino nodded. It was explanation enough. “I will show you the property then,” he said.
Joshua was next to the front door with an innocent look on his face that fooled no one. Kino showed them the small plot, the vegetables he grew there, the chicken pen. He fetched the eggs out of the hen house and showed them to Joshua, who held them gently as if the slightest pressure would crack their shells. When they walked through the oasis the mist clung to them, and a suffocating silence was over the wood, dampening voices and the sounds of the forest.
“Can I put my feet in the pond?” asked Joshua, when they came to the clay-red pond.
“Yes, that is fine” said Kino.
Joshua looked at his mother who nodded. He kicked off his shoes and peeled off his socks then waded slowly into the red water.
“How is this possible?” asked Felicia, suddenly.
Kino shrugged. “For those who know the soul of the soil, it only takes time.”
“But where do the seeds come from?” she asked.
First Kino smiled, then actually laughed. “There is no where. It only is,” he said, reminding himself of his old friend.