It was clear someone had taught the young boy how to do it; his skill level was much too high to have just figured it out on his own. Mary watched him deftly move the sharp knife across the light-grained wood, fascinated by his ability to turn a plain old stick into a beautiful work of art. Aside from her, this booth – one of several under the Arts and Crafts tent at the County Fair – was devoid of people.
They talked to each other as he whittled. He looked up at her through his overgrown blonde bangs once or twice, which made him appear sweet and shy. Mary learned his name was Timothy, they were the same age – 12 – he had a mutt-dog named Jakob, and he lived his grandparents because his mother and father passed away.
“How did they die?” Mary asked, trying to sound sympathetic rather than curious.
Timothy shrugged. “Dunno. They just did.”
They were quiet for after that; Mary watched Timothy whittling. She could see now that he was carving a grizzly bear standing on its hind legs, growling.
Mary turned to see her mother standing by the glass-blowing booth, waving her over.
“C’mon, honey, it’s time to go.”
Mary ran over to her mother, and spoke excitedly with her. She pointed to Timothy; her mother followed her gaze. Moments later, Mary returned, beaming.
“Can you take a break for lunch?” She asked.
Timothy stopped whittling and looked up at her. “In a minute,” he answered, resuming his work. “Why?”
“You’re coming to lunch with my mom and me,” Mary stated, then added when Timothy looked skeptically at her. “It’s okay, she invited you. She told me to tell you.”
Timothy looked over at the woman who was Mary’s mother. She smiled and waved at him.
“Okay,” he said. “Just a second while I finish this.”
“It’s really neat,” Mary told him. “I like it a lot.”
“Good,” Timothy said holding up his finished work. He blew some of the dust off it, and quickly sanded down some of the sharper edges. After closely examining the bear he handed it to Mary.
“It’s for you.”