Kyle and his parents set down for a quick lunch, after walking around the zoo and aquarium looking at the animals in their enclosers, they have about an hour and a half before the boarding call is announced. Kyle has always loved the glassbottom riverboats: almost as much as he loves his lunch choose at the Bamboo Hut. He laid his napkin on his lap the same way he remembers his grandma doing for him; before she passed away years ago from cancer.
Across the floor boards, in the corner next to the window, set a man who Kyle could not take his eyes off. The Adventures started arrangements in his mind: the article in interest made the artistic director of his autism ask questions. The more he was to watch the gentleman---who had a red rose and small kangaroo looking teddy bear at the edge of the table next to a polished dinner set --- the more he had to watch : for the answers. why do you have a rose and small kangaroo teddy? Why do you eat alone? Why do you look torn into: ripped in pieces by happy thoughts and sad hearts?
Kyle had a form of autism that only 2 percent of everyone who has the same serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact, like Kyle and his sister Kylie and his best friend Tony Megan, that allows him to see and hear the dearly departed.
It was the summer of 2015, July the fifthteenth, around the hour of noon: the sun was high in midsky; birds, mostly water fowl, took off in the cloudless hemisphere overhead; cold-blooded creatures of every species, including Kelsey's favorite: the American Alligator, sunbathe on the banks among the array of colors provided especially
by the mixed vegetation found in that particular area of their nature habitations.
Kelsey loved the glassbottom riverboats almost as much as her grandfather did. He had been a tour captain on the riverways for decades. He started taking Kelsey out with him before she could even walk.
They were going to Tree Fort Point, a 25 acre island on the Jynathanna River, located within the Myhangontic Reservation, which became part of the zoo in 1846. The Jynathanna River Bank Zoo is the only zoo on Native American land: it covers 250 acres of the 3000 set aside for the Jynat Hanna tribe that call southern Florida home. Tree Fort Point was unique because of the location and wild life on the island: the only place in the world to have the Jynatovantooii Bear ( 65 live free, protected by Federal law, on the rock).
Kelsey would not get to see them for a last time.
She just turned six. Her poppy, as he was called, was taking her to see and name a new cub; that was born in the zoo on her birthday. It would be his last gift to her.
"Mum, why does he look like that", his eyes told her and her husband where to look.
"Wow he looks..." She sad instently, having her words cut short, rubbing her husband's arm as he said: "lost".
"How can he be lost with all these people around to see he gets where he needs to be". Focused on the shimmer in the lifely-lifeless eyes of the kangaroo teddy he now holds. " You think he will be on the boat".
Before anyone could answer Kyle was up and en route to the table of the gentleman.
"Excuse me sir." Winning the attention of the leathered face man before him. " She wants you to know that you are not alone and that she loves you"
The guy could see with that that the little boy, who was about the same age Kelsey was when she died, had Autism. The two were communicating via a way only they could.
Kyle's mom walks up to remove her son and apologize.
" Nevins Type Two", the old man rubs a tear from his cheek, "my granddaughter had the same thing. She passed away this morning seven years ago. " Before she could even aknowledge what she was hearing from the gentleman he told her the story of Kelsey.
Kelsey's Autism allowed her to learn the calls of the animals on the island. She would call them to the shoreline to be seen by the tourist on her Poppy's boat. Jynatovantooii Bears can not swim, more so across the current of the river, and only come close to the banks when she calls.
Franja, as he was known as to the family, told Kyle how much she was loved by all the animals. A youngster heard her call and came running through the undergrowth, a clumsy thing it was, when he tripped and fell into the wake of the boat. Mrs Remington could see that Franja blames himself for being so close to the shore when she jumped off to save the bear. Scared to death the bear clawed her up to try to stay above the water. The blood attached the taste buds of the Gyhenhanna freshwater sharks that swam the passageways.
The only thing that survived the event was the teddy bear, she was going to give the new born cub, the only one that the gift shop had at the time.
They boarded the glassbottom riverboat and set sail. The tour captain was Franja. They were going to see a specific place on the island that only a handful of people visit.
Walking up the cobbler stone driveway lined with cedar trees that still held the Christmas spirit, Kyle heard a friendly voice from the past, he could see the erected sign that reads: Kelsey's Cliff. And just pass that a stone among red velvet roses and stuffed kangaroo teddy bears.
Here lies Kelsey Valentine and Joey Roo.
The voice of Kelsey laughs out the words. "Poppy could not leave him to be forgotten about." You want to go get food and picnic" she asks.
"What are we going to get?" Turning to look out at the veiw from the cliff. In the distance he could see the same table he met Franja at a year ago. And smiled. Franja had not been eating alone.
" How about recipes for one?"