Mr. Rempel

“He talks about nature, about insects and birds and animals. Once he told me ants talk to each other using chemicals. He also said some male birds have pretty red feathers, but the female is all gray. Mr. Rempel says men are prettier than women.”

“Ho ho! I may have to have a few words with this Rempel fellow about that,” Jill protested. Chelsea broke into giggles.

“Mom, could you make a little cookie for Mr. Rempel?”

“Well, I suppose, though you might tell him next time, in defense of women, that we are the fairer sex.” Her daughter nodded earnestly, and Jill laughed. She peered out the window over the sink. Emerald forest carpeted the surrounding hills.

Jill wanted Chelsea to make some friends. After she and Dean divorced, the child who loved to braid dandelions together and write poems to the moon became lost and withdrawn. When school let out for the summer, Jill envisioned the girl seated before the living room window for days on end, staring at the Vermont forest.

And an imaginary friend—well, that was something.

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