“What’s he doing in there?”
“I don’t know, if you’re so concerned go and ask him.”
“It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. What’s he doing awake at 3’oclock in the morning?”
My parents were getting more and more anxious about what was happening. Yes I was awake, but they wouldn’t believe me if I told them what was going on, they rarely did. I let them discuss who was going to knock on my door, which one of them was going to ask what I was doing, and why I was awake. Why do they always think the worst?
“Go on you go, just ask him what he is doing, ask him if he is OK.”
I’ve always found adults strange. They tell us right from wrong, when we already know, and they’ve forgotten. They tell us to work hard, but look at what working hard has done for them. They look tired and wary, upset and frustrated. How will working hard help me? Anyway, I want to do something I enjoy when I grow up, and I will do my best every day.
Tonight though, I’m gazing out the window watching the wonderment outside. It’s amazing, I wish you could see. I don’t know why it’s happened to me. I wish I could tell my parents, I wish they could see too but they won’t believe and won’t understand. And I’m frightened that if they see, it will stop happening. That there willingness to not believe will somehow stop it from happening anymore. As soon as their bedroom light goes on, it stops, so I doubt it will still happen if they were watching with me.
“Go on, please. Don’t go in, just knock on the door and ask”
I turn my light off.
“Look, he’s lights gone off, it’s fine, and he’s gone back to sleep.”
My parents are fooled once again, they are not as smart as they appear, or it is me who is smarter than they think? I hope it still happens; I’ll miss it when it stops. I don’t think it will now my light has gone off.
I stare out of the window, looking down at the hedge that goes all around our house. I know he is there. He is waiting to come alive again when all is quiet. He likes the quiet, he like this time of night, and doesn’t like anyone else around. He seems to only trust me. And before you get worried about what I am about to tell you, don’t be. This is not a scary story, this is incredible, but you have to believe, and you have to keep it a secret too. I hope you can do that.
My parents light now off, and mine too. Everything is so quiet and peaceful. I stare at the hedge.
I am transfixed by the point I know to be the right place. The point I was looking at all those months ago when this first happened. When I was sad and couldn’t sleep and looking out the window. “Come on sir, show yourself” I whisper. If there’s one thing in life I have learnt already, it’s that you have to be patient.
I gaze at the outline it seems only I see. His face is there, the leaves are his eyes, nose and mouth, they move in the gentle night time breeze. His arms outstretched as part of the tender branches.
I can’t see it but he must be holding a gun, well, his rifle. He is crouched down and I’ve never been able to see his legs when he is like this.
As I stare, it starts to happen, the hedge begins to move. No longer is it the breeze but a head, his head starts to turn. Lieutenant Miles is alive once again. Very slowly he moves, turns towards me and smiles. He slowly leaves the confines of his hedge, all in green he emerges in the street light’s gentle glare. He moves to the centre of the garden, looks up at me and smiles once again. He starts to do his star jumps.
Mark Scotchford © 09/04/2016