The duck did not miss the girl wearing the yellow T-shirt with the giraffe on the pocket. He missed the bits of bread and lettuce she tossed. But the girl? He didn’t think so.
She yelped and he startled, dropping the lettuce she tossed his way, fluttering back into the glistening pond. One of the older drakes had bitten her hand. He knew what she felt, having received nips on his tail speeding out of their way. Whichever way their bills were pointed was “their way.” They allowed him to paddle in all other directions…unless one of those directions led to bread crusts and lettuce.
He watched the little girl and her father walk away from the pond. He watched her fingers knit into his fingers. He paddled around the bend to the pile of stones where the stream emptied into the pond. He hopped onto the stones and waddled up the stream, eyes ahead. Maybe he missed her a little.
Upstream he saw the little girl walking on the river stones, still holding her father’s hand. Her father swung her onto the grass and they disappeared over the crest of a green knoll.
The duck fluttered onto shore and then over the trees, circling…watching them walk across the great green field toward their home. Continue reading