Parnell Braine saw the Mint Green Scooter parked by the curb right next to the ” Motor Cycle Parking Only ” sign for the time two years ago.
It looked so out of place on a street that was full of SUV’s and sports cars and Mountain Bikes chained to parking meters and trash cans that have been bolted to the ground that it should have been easy to spot- instead most people didn’t even seem to notice that it was there.
Parnell noticed it, and when he saw it there against the curb it seemed like nothing else in the entire world existed except for that Scooter and the memory of a little girl who should have grown up to own one just like it.
But instead of riding a Scooter Leatha Gliston dead for thirty years now-poor Leatha who died on the jagged rocks at the bottom of a cliff with the tide trying again and again to pull her ruined body out to Sea while Parnell and the Search and Rescue Crew stood on the shore and watched.
” What were those kids doing up there?” someone asked and Parnell wanted to say that he and Leatha had been goofing off, spitting over the railing when Parnell leaned over to far and Leatha grabbed his hand and pulled him back and then she…
He tried to say but he just couldn’t get the words out and then for awhile that’s all he could say to anyone and he said it over and over again.
The Mint Green Scooter was back the next day.
As Parnell walked up to the Scotter was now convinced that had Leatha lived she would have owned a Mint Green Scooter- she would have worn a matching helmet and Parnell had no doubts that she would even rode her Scooter in the rain and in a dress.
Now when he closed his eyes he could actually see her, alive and riding that Scooter and when he opened his eyes again he wished- as hard as he did the day at the beach that what he was seeing wasn’t there- but of course the Scooter was still there and standing right next to it was the ghost of dead child.
The Scooter was now the most real and alive thing in Parnell’s world.
And he was afraid of it.
But when Parnell turned the corner the next day the Scooter wasn’t parked at the curb, it wasn’t there a week later, it wasn’t there a month later and he was able to forget all about it- until the end of Summer when it turned up again.
When Parnell saw the Scooter was back he crossed the street and ran into the Waterfall Garden and then he stopped and turned around and the only reason he didnt’ keep running was that the Scooter was indeed still parked at the curb.
He stood there for a few minutes and when the Scooter showed no signs of moving he took a seat at a table closest to the man made waterfall that smelled faintly of chlorine and mold and tried to not think about Leatha.
Instead he watched for the real of owner of the Scooter to show up and he hoped against hope that if he saw the real owner who was alive, he would stop thinking about it belonging to a dead girl.
And then he saw her.
He saw the real owner of the Mint Green Scooter.
Parnell told himself that if Leatha could, would she be wearing torn up jeans that were patched back together with safety pins? Would she have worn her hair in braids and would she have carried a back pack with a very pink and very happy looking at stenciled on the back?
Not Leatha, Parnell thought- and then he started to feel a little better.
And then he saw that the Scooter Rider was wearing brown and tan hiking boots and Parnell laughed because he knew that Leatha would never have given up wearing her black engineer boots.
A year before the day at the Cliffs just after they had turned 10, Leatha’s Mom had bought a pair of boys sized engineer boots for Leatha to wear because of Leatha’s bad ankles.
Her Mom had thought that if Leatha wore those, she wouldn’t have to wear ” prescription shoes ” to help strengthen her ankles. And it turned out she was right. In fact Leatha only really needed to wear them for a few months but in the end she wore them all of the time, she even wore them with dresses.
So not even in his worst nightmares would Leatha show up in anything but those boots.
Parnell didn’t feel like he needed to hide in the Waterfall Garden- now he knew that he could walk right up to that Scooter and take a good close look at it because it was just a Mint Green Scooter that belonged to a woman who could have been the type of person that Leatha might have grown up to become.
When he got across the street he actually touched the Scooter’s mirror and he laughed at himself for his daring and then he walked down the street and he stopped at the bookstore the woman on the Scooter had walked into.
He looked through the window and he watched the woman move from bookshelf to bookshelf and then he heard her laugh a little and when she did Parnell could feel his hand slipping from Leatha’s and he could hear the Sea crashing against the rocks below and looked up into a long ago sky and he cried, ” don’t let me go Leatha! “
” I won’t! ” she called back to him from 30 years ago.
They both heard her, he and the woman in the store.
Then the woman who used to be a girl named Leatha looked out the window and when she saw Parnell the books in her hand slid to the floor and just before they hit, Parnell closed his eyes and then he opened them and looked back into the window he saw his forever 11 year old face reflected back at him for a few seconds
…and then it was gone.