TWENTY-TWO - Love and Llamas

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January 7th, Monday

The only good thing about going back to school today is the fact that Ivy was there, too. But, unlike me, Ivy was not the least bit self-conscious or awkward. On the contrary, and by second period she already knew pretty much everyone's first name. I still only really know Lincoln, and of course, Scarlet. You would think that Scarlet would have been a little friendlier to me, seeing as how I dealt with the vomit on her parent's fig tree on New Year's Eve, but she just pretty much ignored me the whole day. It felt like she was doing it on purpose. So, when part of her sculpture fell off in art class, I just calmly went about my business with my own work and didn't offer to help. Although, come to think of it, the part that fell off was made entirely from pink plastic tampon applicators, so there was no way in hell I was going to be touching that. I do have my limits.

At lunch, Ivy and I sat in The Blue Room, which used to be the 100-year-old farmhouse's old living room. It must have been a pretty cool place to live, but now the seven bedrooms are just seven boring classrooms. The  Blue Room is where kids drink tea (mostly green) and sit around on giant bean bag pillows in a relaxed fashion.  Sometimes there is music playing. Today there was some instrumental alternative stuff on, which Raven said was "experimental" but which I think sounded like the beats the rave kids listen to back at my old school. My friend Ryan and I call it "mushroom music." (Speaking of Ryan, I haven't heard a word from him, except for one text telling me he reached level six on Portal of Darkness, which I think is a bold-faced lie.)

Anyway, Ivy and I were sharing an orange pillow (a promising sign, I think, and another important step in our blossoming relationship) and drinking mugs of peppermint tea, which Ivy says is very good for our digestion. (She knows a lot about the human body, it would seem, probably because her father is a vet.) Anyway, she said that Scarlet is probably super insecure, and that's why she comes off all bossy and know-it-all-y. She went on to say that people who are comfortable with who they are, are generally more tolerant of others. I just sat there, hanging on to her every word, and noticing that she has the twinkliest eyes ever when she is being thoughtful and earnest.

In the afternoon, Willow, our social studies teacher, told us we all have to do two days of volunteer work somewhere as part of a "giving back" initiative she has started. It can be for anyone, doing anything. Ivy has already decided that she is going to volunteer at the coffee shop, so she can learn how to make those swirly fern things you see on the top of latte drinks, but I am going to have to give this some thought. There is a construction company doing some building down near the ferry terminal. Maybe I'll see if they need a labourer. It would be good, character building work, and I wouldn't mind building a little muscle, either.

When I got home, Dad and Misty were leading one of her llamas—the one with the 90s boy band haircut—around on a purple lead shank near our woodpile. Apparently, it had started a fight with the white one—aptly named Snowflake. Misty had wanted to give him a time-out, so had walked him over for a visit with my father. Desmond seemed pretty chill to me, so I think maybe Misty just wanted an excuse to hang out with Dad (who, by the way, IS growing a beard. I knew it was just a matter of time.)

While Dad and Misty talked about nothing (with stars in their eyes), Desmond and I just sort of stared at each other and said nothing. Well, I said nothing. Desmond made strange humming noises that were actually a little off putting. I don't "speak" llama, so for all I know, he could have been saying anything. At least he didn't spit in my face this time. I'm going to take that as a good sign.

After Misty took Desmond back home, Dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Myles? Isn't it a great day to be alive? Doesn't the air out here smell divine?" so I know he is most likely in love.

P.S.  Fun fact: I just learned that intact male llamas and alpacas are called studs (or "machos" in Spanish), whereas castrated males are referred to as geldings. Apparently Desmond is a "gelding," which might have been why he was making those unsettling sounds. I'm pretty sure I would do the same if someone just up and removed my balls. Just saying.

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