“This lagoon, teeming with overgrown brush, trees, and critters is as close to home as I’ll ever feel. Nothing can hurt me here, not even the cottonmouths, alligators, and snapping turtles.” Pearl swiped a mosquito away from her face, leaving a streak of dirt on her cheek from her grimy hands.
“There is something peaceful about this place, that’s for sure.” Owen shoved his hands in his back jean pockets, inspected the woodwork, and rocked back on his heels. “Who built this bridge?”
“My Pa built it for me. He started a tree house too, it’s at the other end of the creek. But, he didn’t get very far on it before he…before.” Pearl sighed and adjusted the bandanna embracing her skull, plastering her curly hair down. “My Pa died. He died in a horrible way.”
“I’m sorry to hear that Pearl, my folks are gone too. Have been for a long time.”
Pearl stiffened and crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t talk about it…ever.”
“I won’t force you to talk about anything. I’m a loner myself. I don’t want to please anyone, so I don’t talk about things, except for my best friend Caleb. He knows everything and doesn’t judge me, never has.”
“I’ve never had a best friend. I don’t know what it’s like to tell anyone my secrets. People tend to shy away from me. Can’t say that I blame them, I even think I’m weird.”
“Weird? Pearl, everyone has a squirrely streak, the side they keep private. Well, unless they have a meltdown and flip out. It’d scare the crap out of me to see inside of my mind, if I was someone else, that is.”
“You aren’t the most articulate person I’ve ever met, that’s for sure.” Pearl smiled and relaxed her arms".