Ben and Maxxie

-Summer 1991-

The boys met each other before they went to school together. Ben’s grandma had come to Japan for the summer. His parents went on a business trip up in Hokkaido. It just him and his grandma. Ben had the best time with just her. That morning, they baked cookies and read picture books. After lunch, grandma laid down on the couch for a nap. Ben played with his toys on the floor. It didn’t take long for him to get bored and wander around the house, looking for something to do. He had just come back into the living room when her noticing something in the bushes in the backyard. Curious, the little boy walked over to the glass doors.

Was that a little face looking back at him? Little Ben just had to find out.

The back doors were sliding doors at the time. The way the house was set up was that the back door was easy for the child to open. His grandmother left it unlatched that morning. It didn’t take Ben long to open the back door and slip outside. The child wandered around, looking left and right as he walked up to the bush. He finally peeked into the green leaves.

“I can see you!” he said.

“Nah-uh!” a little boy’s voice shouted. Ben about jumped.

“The bush talked!” he said.

“Uh… hi…” the “bush” said. The little boy stuck out his hand.

“I’m Ben,” he said. “What’s your name?”

“Maxxie,” the bush said. “It” stuck out “its” hand and shook Ben’s. The little boy tried to peek inside.

“What are you doing in there?” he asked. Ben could see little brown eyes staring back at him.

“I’m hiding,” Maxxie said.

“Why?” the little boy asked.

“Because I want to,” the “bush” said. Ben looked around quickly.

“Can I join you?” he asked.

“Sure!” Maxxie said. He moved aside and let Ben sit down in the bushes. Both boys smiled at each other.

“I like it here,” Ben said.

“Me too,” Max said. The boys giggled.

“Ben!” his grandmother called. The little boy could see her looking around in the backyard. Despite his new friend’s attempts to keep him quiet, Ben stood up.

“Here I am!” he said. The old lady put her hand to her chest.

“Oh, there you are,” she said. Grandmother walked over to the bush and happened to look down and see Maxxie looking up at her.

“Hi!” he shouted.

“Oh my!” the old lady said. “And who is your friend? Ben sat down and put his arm around him.

“His name is Maxxie!” he said.

“Hi!” Maxxie shouted again. Suddenly, his stomach growled. Grandma chuckled.

“Would you like some cookies?” she asked. “We baked them this morning!” The boys jumped to their feet.

“Yes!” they shouted. The boys followed Ben’s grandma into the house.


Back in present day…