Kate wandered longingly down the path. Her big eyes hovering over anything that looked interesting enough. Little half-moons of green green clovers and little melodic bluebirds hopping along the branches.
She had left her glossy green-apple sided house.
In search of a delicacy, she hadn't ever tasted.
She needed information on this important subject, desperately.
Her first stop was Aunt Marie's home.
It was a fiery redbrick house with a glossy brown porch adorned with warm red flowerpots stroked with rich ambers. The flowers grew quietly and beautifully. Their petals embracing the aster pink sunlight. The house was wrapped in a scarf of vines and yolky flowers.
She knocked on the door excitedly. Her face red and her toes bouncing.
A lady came to the door. She had glimmering aureoles of faded honey and bright shallow eyes dominating her face, filled with cornflower fields.
Kate was sitting on Aunt Marie's table, admiring the plump cream puffs and the golden poppyseed bread.
"What is friendship?" said Kate, while nibbling chocolate covered biscuits that Aunt Marie had brought out for her.
Aunt Marie stopped and hovered over to the cedar table, her head resting on her hands.
"People you choose to be with through fire and storms."
"I wish I wad one," mumbled Kate, with sweet crumbs in her mouth.
"Real friends are truly a fantasy." sighed Aunt Marie, "You better get going now. I have a gathering at my place in a few hours. Take this for your mother!"
Kate nodded softly. Picked up the basket filled with warm fragrances, and started to journey to Tom's house.
She hopped on mossy rocks and past fragile cedars. Finally, her shoes swept over the grainy path marking the arrival of Tom's manor. She marched up to the rusty copper doorknob and knocked.
She waited while watching the spotted cows roaming the verdant hills, their white fur shining under the periwinkle sky.
"Hello there." grinned Tom.
His cheeks were glowing crimson and his smile was fragmented. Some teeth were broken, others growing back. He had a massive clump of chestnut hair, towering on his head.
"Hi." smiled Kate back.
Tom opened his door, letting out the fragrances of baked goods and bright rosy lights, and motioned for Kate to come in, but Kate stayed firmly placed.
"What do you think friendship means?" asked Kate politely.
"People who aren't.....mean," said Tom hesitantly.
An hour later, Kate was lounging on Aunt Penelope's velvety orange seat, warming her toes by the fire. Aunt Kate was smiling next to her. She was a young lady about the age of 20 with silky hair flowing down her back in waves of crisp autumn blonde. Her eyes were large and hazel and she had dozens of freckles dotting her nose.
"Have you ever had a friend?" debriefed Kate curiously.
"Yes, I have a wonderful one. Her name is Lucy. She is awful bright."
"What makes her your friend?" questioned Kate, eyes wide open.
"Well......she brought a big pearl creamed cake for me when I was sick, she felt bad for me. She also got me a dog because my parents weren't willing to pay for it. Here he is, actually."
Penelope picked up a giddy dog with round indigo eyes and a massive coat of pale brown fur.
"She's my friend because I love her dearly and she loves me too."
Kate skipped past the brook and ran to her green apple house shining in front of the melting sun.
On her way, she came across Mr. Brown. He wore a leather cowboy fashioned hat on his head and out popped a few strands of grey hair. His face was lined with wrinkles and he had puppy-dog wheat brown eyes, big and longing.
"Excuse me, sir," said Kate looking up to Mr. Brown.
"Oh hello. What brings you here?"
"What does it mean to have a friend?" said Kate, her eyes glimmering vivaciously.
"Oh well. They're sort of like the family that you choose," said Mr. Brown his teeth hooked on wheat.
"Thank you! Mr. Brown."
This was the shortest sweetest line she'd gotten yet! Her eyes filled with twinkling golden stars, she marched triumphantly to her home.
She ran inside and threw her olive coat on top of a spare dining chair and hopped up the stairs gripping her notes. She had gathered many. From Auntie Marie, Tom, Penelope, Baby Grace (she wasn't going to count that in her essay), and a few random farmers.
She entered her circular room and jumped onto her lavender cushion. She started to scribble rapidly on her brown weathered paper.
Friendship is people you stay with through, well...everything.
Friends don't tease you, they aren't mean. Friends make you cry and laugh. They make you yell and scream. They make you cringe and grin. Friends stay with you forever. They get cakes for you when you're sick because they feel bad that all you're getting is bland soup.
Friendship is a family you create for yourself. It's the thing that doesn't lend you anything. It doesn't fulfill your needs. It just gives value to the short years that you walk the earth.
While Kate was writing she started to notice something, she brought in her mother. Her mother was a woman with a frosty complexion - icy crystal eyes, and snowy hair.
"Mommy, I'm lonely. I have no friends." mourned Kate.
"You have so many. They're all around you." comforted her mother.
"You're only saying that because I am your child. You wouldn't say that to me if I was some random stranger."
"You've got this all wrong, dear. The only reason I'm saying this is because I love you the most. I love you because I know you most." soothed Kate's mother, wrapping her steady arms around the fragile child.
"Who are my friends, mother?" said, Kate, her lashes speckled with fat tears.
"Me, dad, all our neighbours," reassured Kate's mother.
"But.....but, Mother. Friends are the family you choose. They are not your family, mother."
"If we were lined up beside all the other Oregon folks, would you choose us?"
"Of course, mother." sighed Kate in defeat, with a secret relief bubbling up inside her.
"You see, Kate. Mothers always know best." Her mother started to stroke her cotton candy hair.
Kate smiled and let her small body sink into the warm one of her mother.