Jimmy's Vacation: Part Three
Jimmy awoke to the bright sunlight that filtered through the thin, window curtain. The cloth rose and billowed on the warm breezes that blew in from the open window. He peered over at Tidey’s cot; Tidey was already gone and the bed was neatly made.
Jimmy blinked and slowly sat up, dangling his pudgy feet an inch or so off the floor. Finally, he dropped to the ground, cringing at the sudden feel of the cold wooden floor. He sleepily waddled to the doorway before pausing and looking back at his cot with its blankets lying in utter disarray. He glanced over at Tidey’s cot. Should he fix his bed? Tidey would get upset if he didn’t.
Jimmy felt he could almost kick himself when he finally waddled back to his cot and started straightening the sheets. He mimicked Tidey’s cot the best he could before standing back and admiring how nice his looked (though not quite as nice). He hurried out of the room, down the stairs, across the hall and into the kitchen where Tidey had apparently just started eating.
Tidey looked up as he entered. “Morning, Jimmy,” he greeted in his usual, timid voice. “Dad’s upstairs sleeping and Mom’s gone to the Island Market to get fruits.”
“Morning,” Jimmy answered. “What’s there to eat?”
“Veggie sausages and cereal,” Tidey said, patting the chair next to him. “Come and eat. Then we can do other stuff.”
Jimmy wasn’t quite sure what they could possibly do in this tiny, run-down hut, but he sat down anyway, starved from not eating much besides cake the previous night. He eyed the food. “Do you eat this every day?”
“Sometimes Mom cooks scrambled egg...” Tidey trailed off, taking a bite of his sausage. “Why?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Jimmy answered vaguely. “At home we usually have pudding and bagels and cream puffs and ice cream...”
“You can eat ice cream for breakfast?” Tidey asked, putting his fork down on his plate, obviously shocked.
“Oh yeah. My mum and dad let me eat anything I want,” Jimmy boasted.
“Oh.” Tidey seemed to be staring down at his food sadly. “But this is still good. Promise.” He swallowed the last of his sausage.
“...Okay,” Jimmy said a bit skeptically. Remembering to use his fork, he reached out and poked a veggie sausage from the serving dish. He took a bite slowly. Tidey watched him closely.
Jimmy gulped the sausage down before critiquing, “It’s okay, I guess...”
“It is healthy,” Tidey pointed out.
Jimmy swallowed the last of his sausage, eager to get to the cereal. He quickly poured himself a bowl of Neocrunch Cereal and splashed milk onto it (under Tidey’s direction). This he liked much better.
“I’ve never tasted this before,” Jimmy said, shoving another spoonful into his mouth. “It’s great!”
Tidey smiled as they both quickly finished their cereal. At that moment, the front door swung open and Auntie Grace came in carrying a basket filled with all manner of exotic, multi-colored fruits.
“Hi, boys!” Auntie Grace greeted them merrily. “Sleep well?”
“Hi, Mom!” Tidey ran over and hugged her.
“Hi, Auntie Grace,” Jimmy mumbled shyly. Auntie Grace smiled at him.
Jimmy was still eyeing the fruits as Auntie Grace set the basket down on the counter and headed upstairs. “Whoa. What are these?” he asked in awe.
“You’ve never seen them before?” asked Tidey, apparently in as much awe as Jimmy. “I thought my parents said you had a beachside house here.”
“Yeah, well, I only eat pudding and pastries,” Jimmy answered defensively.
“...Oh.” Tidey didn’t seem to know what to say. “Want me to tell you the names of these?” he asked suddenly.
“Okay!” Jimmy nodded eagerly.
“Okay, well, this is a Nurako,” Tidey said, pointing at a fruit that closely resembled a pineapple. “And this is an Azzle – this is an Astranna– this one we call a Munuberry - this, here, is a Roseatte – this one, one of my favorites, is a Funnydew Melon...”
Jimmy watched, mesmerized, as he tried to memorize all the different names of the exotic fruits, laughing every so often at ones with funny names.
“...and this one is a Lemoran, which is a mix between a lemon and an orange (Jimmy chuckled at this) – that purple one is an Owabit – this bumpy-looking one is called a Taokicarrot – that’s a Tobbie Fruit – this one’s an Oranella... and that’s it!” Tidey exhaled deeply and then looked up at Jimmy, smiling. “I doubt you can remember them all, huh?”
Jimmy shook his head. “But that one carrot-looking fruit is a Talkycarrot, right?” They both burst out laughing.
At that moment, they heard someone coming down the stairs and Auntie Grace appeared again. She smiled when she saw them laughing. “Why don’t you two go to the beach today? The weather is perfect!” she suggested.
“Okay!” Tidey exclaimed excitedly. Jimmy’s eyes, however, grew wide at the mention of the beach, but no one seemed to notice. “Come on, Jimmy! Change into your swimming trunks – you do have them, right? Of course you do.” Tidey ran off before Jimmy could so much as speak.
Jimmy reluctantly headed upstairs and changed into his swimming trunks. He arrived downstairs to find Tidey standing eagerly by the door, holding two towels, a bucket and a bottle of Factor 30 Sun Tan Lotion. Tidey rushed outside with Jimmy on his heels.
“Be back by supper, boys!” Auntie Grace called after them. “Oh, and bring these for a snack!” Tidey ran back to her and she handed him a small basket with a few of the fruits she had purchased earlier.
“Come on, Jimmy! Let’s go!” Tidey squealed with excitement.
“Wait, Tidey!” Jimmy called him.
“What?” Tidey asked curiously, turning around to look at Jimmy.
“I... I...” Jimmy stuttered.
“I... I can’t swim,” Jimmy finally managed, looking down at his feet nervously.
“You can’t?” Tidey was shocked. “But you have a beachside house!”
“But my parents never actually let me go on the beach because they’re afraid I might drown,” Jimmy explained miserably. “And I’m dead afraid of water anyway. Drowning doesn’t sound like fun.”
“You won’t drown,” Tidey assured Jimmy, sounding perfectly sure of himself. “Come on, I’ll teach you!” Jimmy didn’t argue with this, so they both ran off to the beach in a hurry.
The beach wasn’t far at all. It was only a little less than a mile away. They arrived around five minutes later, Tidey extremely energetic, Jimmy panting breathlessly. Jimmy stumbled down and fell face-flat on the sand just as they arrived at the edge of the beach.
“Come on, Jimmy!” Tidey exclaimed, putting his stuff down in the shade of a palm tree. We have to put on our sun tan lotion and then I can show you how to swim!”
Jimmy lifted his face and spat sand out of his mouth. He slowly got back on his feet. They quickly spread the lotion all over themselves.
“Watch,” Tidey instructed Jimmy once he had put away the Factor 30 Sun Tan Lotion. He pulled Jimmy by the arm over to the shoreline. Tidey folded his blue wings close to his body and waded into the water until he was waist-deep. “Come on!” he called Jimmy excitedly. He gestured eagerly with his arm.
Jimmy looked at him skeptically before taking one step forward... “Yikes!” he shouted in shock as a wave washed over his foot. The wave wasn’t extremely cold or extremely hot; he was just frightened by the water.
“It’s not going to hurt you, Jimmy!” Tidey called from where he had waded in deeper. At that moment, a huge wave rose over and splashed down on Tidey. Jimmy gasped, turned around in fright, and stumbled.
“It’s okay!” Jimmy heard Tidey’s voice calling again. “It’s actually fun to do that!”
Jimmy slowly turned around to see that Tidey was dripping wet, but okay. Sighing in relief, he took a deep breath and hopped forward, standing his ground and grimacing as a wave of water swept over his ankles.
“The water feels good after a while,” Tidey assured Jimmy as he slowly waded deeper.
Soon enough, Jimmy was up to his waist, shivering in fear. Tidey came to him and urged him a bit farther. “Now watch,” said Tidey as a huge wave rolled towards him. “Hold your breath when it hits. That’s all. It feels good, really!”
Jimmy trembled in fear but held his breath just as Tidey said. The wave rose up and splashed over them, leaving them both drenched and dripping.
Tidey was laughing. “Wasn’t that fun?!” he asked Jimmy.
Much to his surprise, Jimmy was chuckling. “That was fun! Let’s wait for another one!”
For the next few hours, Tidey and Jimmy laughed and played in the rolling tides. Tidey showed Jimmy how to stand in one place near the shallow end and watch as the undertow pulled the sand from right beneath your feet, burying you ankle-deep. He demonstrated to Jimmy how to tread water deeper into the ocean (which Jimmy had trouble with, but got eventually). He showed Jimmy how to float on his back and watch the clouds up above. He even showed Jimmy how to run with the tides, letting them carry you farther and faster when they caught up.
Finally, the two cousins plopped down on the sand, exhausted yet happy. They quickly scrambled up to the shade of a palm tree where they added another layer of sun tan lotion and starting munching the fruits Auntie Grace had given them.
Tidey was biting into a juicy Funnydew Melon slice. “So do you like the beach?” he asked Jimmy, wiping the juice that was dripping from his chin.
“Like it?” Jimmy asked, munching into a sweet Nurako. It was an easy question. “I love it! Do you come here every day?”
“Not every day,” he answered. “Only when the weather’s not too hot and it’s nice and breezy, like today!”
The boys quickly finished up their fruit and ran off again under the hot sun. This time, Tidey showed Jimmy how to look for seashells and how to wash off the sand by holding them under the water (he collected them in his bucket). He also showed Jimmy how to bend down and pick up seashells that were washed ashore by the tides. He explained that he needed to pick them up quickly if he didn’t want to lose them to the undertow.
Jimmy had the time of his life. They eventually built sand castles (using only damp sand which Tidey explained worked the best), and dug moats to trap water from the tides. They topped it off by burying each other neck-deep in the sun-warmed sand. Jimmy even got pinched by a Crabula, but he didn’t mind at all. He was having too much fun.
The two of them arrived home just in time for a delicious dinner of Kelp Lasagna, Azzle Salad and fresh lemonade. Jimmy really enjoyed the taste of this exotic food and started to wonder why he was always so stubborn about eating only pudding and pastries.
Jimmy finally plopped onto his cot in his comfy pajamas thinking that he had never had so much fun in one day ever before. It was far into the night when Jimmy asked Tidey, who was lying in the other cot, “Are you awake?”
Tidey rolled over onto his side, facing Jimmy. “Uh-huh.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure!” Tidey’s eyes sparkled eagerly.
“Ummm... why did your parents name you Tidey?” Jimmy asked, wondering nervously if he had asked a question that was too personal. “I’m just wondering. If you don’t want to answer, that’s perfectly fi...”
“I can tell you!” Tidey interrupted happily. “My mom says that she’s always loved the beach, so she wanted to name me after the rolling tides she had grown to love and admire.”
“Oh...” said Jimmy, pondering what Tidey had just said.
“And she told me when I was a bit younger that she had named me perfectly because not only do I love the tides, but I’m always neat and tidy!” He beamed at Jimmy. “I really love my name.”
Jimmy laughed quietly. “That is perfect!” Tidey laughed with him.
Jimmy finally felt a wave of drowsiness wash over him, not much different than the waves at the beach. “Good night,” he said to Tidey.
And Jimmy fell asleep, knowing that he had just had the best day of his entire life.
The next four days whizzed by like a blur. Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, and Jimmy personally thought “fun” was an understatement.
In those four days, Jimmy went around with Tidey, helping him with whatever tasks he usually did around the island. Tidey showed Jimmy how to shimmy up coconut trees and shake them down and how to prepare certain dishes, usually involving exotic fruits. Tidey even showed Jimmy his collection of various-colored bottles of sand and his newest collection of island knick-knacks from the Tiki Tack shop.
Jimmy also greatly enjoyed the food they served. After trying and loving the exotic fruits, he was open to any new food his Uncle and Auntie threw at him. Sometimes they had “regular food” like pot pie, and other times they had interesting island dishes, such as Oyster Salad or Maraquan Gumbo.
Jimmy was enjoying himself more than he ever had, but the seventh and final day of his stay with them inevitably rolled around.
“Hey Tidey?” He and Tidey had just finished a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, Flatfruit and Bubbly Roseatte Juice. It was the last day of his stay with them.
“...My parents are coming today. But I don’t want to leave.”
“...I don’t want you to leave either...”
They were both sitting on a makeshift porch swing that Uncle Fredrick had built recently before Jimmy had arrived. It was swaying slightly thanks to the breeze. All Jimmy’s fourteen suitcases were packed and leaned against the house on the other side of the porch, ready to go. Funnily enough, Jimmy had only needed to open one suitcase – the one with his clothes.
“They’ll be arriving any minute...” Jimmy’s voice trailed off, for surely enough, he heard the flapping of many wings as he saw the heads of seven or eight Eyries pop out above the tops of the trees.
A few minutes later, the platform was directly above the clearing where they had landed earlier, lowering slowly. Veronica could be heard crying and wailing in joy once she got a glimpse of Jimmy.
Uncle Fredrick and Auntie Grace came out of the house at the sound of Veronica’s voice and waved happily. The large platform landed with a thud and Veronica came scrambling out to smother her “angel-pie” in kisses. Jimmy hugged his mother back, happy to see her despite knowing what it meant. Humphrey stayed on the platform, ordering the Eyries to get a move on loading Jimmy’s suitcases.
Veronica slowly released her constricting grip on Jimmy and wiped the tears in her eyes with her handkerchief. “Thank you again, Fredrick and Grace, for taking care of him. I hope he wasn’t too much trouble...”
“Oh no, not at all,” Auntie Grace answered quickly. “He had a lot of fun, I think.”
Jimmy walked up slowly to Uncle Fredrick. “Thank you, Uncle Fredrick,” Jimmy said, giving him a genuine smile. Uncle Fredrick beamed at him and shook his hand enthusiastically.
“Thanks, Auntie Grace,” he said, walking to her and giving her a big hug, which she returned wholeheartedly.
“My baby,” Veronica suddenly wailed, extremely pleased about how polite he was. She starting sniffling uncontrollably and blew her nose loud and hard on her unfortunate handkerchief.
Jimmy finally got to Tidey, who was looking down at his feet miserably. Tidey lifted his gaze, and they both stared at each other a long time. Finally, Jimmy reached forward, wrapping his arms around Tidey in a hug. Tidey did the same.
This was too much for Veronica. She broke out wailing and bawling waterfalls from her eyes, crying, “My Jimmy! My baby!” Three or four of the Eyries had to drag her back onto the platform.
“I hope I can come back soon,” Jimmy told Tidey shyly, breaking off.
“My mom and dad say you’re welcome here any day,” Tidey told Jimmy with a smile.
The moment was over. Humphrey called gruffly to his son to get on the platform so they could “ditch this join... errr... leave for some important business.”
Jimmy reluctantly turned, mounted the platform, and settled down on the cushion with his parents protectively on either side. “Bye!” Jimmy called out, waving furiously as they were lifted, with much difficulty, up into the air. “I’ll miss you!”
Down below, Jimmy could see Tidey run forward and wave while jumping up and down. “Bye!” he heard faintly.
A tear ran down Jimmy’s cheek; he would miss Tidey and all the fun they had together.
“Mum?” he asked suddenly when the shack disappeared from view.
“Yes, dearie,” Veronica said, still sniffling.
“Are we ever coming back?”
“No, dearie,” Veronica said stiffly. “The vacation in Shenkuu was horrible. I vowed never to put you through such torture again. It wasn’t even worth it.”
“But Mum,” Jimmy pleaded. “I want to come back! I didn’t mind being there at all. I actually enjoyed it. A lot. Tidey and I had so much fun!”
Veronica looked shocked. “You did? ...I mean, of course you did! Yes, of course, dearie. Whatever your little heart desires. You can visit them next month if you really want.”
Jimmy couldn’t have shone more brightly than the sun. He was going back.
And he surely couldn’t wait ‘til then.