Ana Vidosavljevic

Toby’s Garden

Toby was a six-year-old boy. Blonde curls, blue eyes and full lips made him one of the most handsome boys in the street. And he knew that. His mother called him “a cheeky little monster” since he loved looking in himself in the mirror and running his fingers through his hair. His little house was at the end of Maple Street and like every other house in the neighborhood, his house was surrounded by a beautiful garden with a maple tree in the middle. He loved that garden. And the other children in the street loved it too.

Toby was a perfect child. He loved his parents and he finished his tasks on time. He never refused to do what his dad would ask him. And he often helped his mum wash the dishes. However, there was one thing Toby couldn’t do. He couldn’t listen to the birds singing happily in his garden. He couldn’t hear anyone else talking. And the only language he understood was a sign language. His parents knew the sign language and they talked to him easily. But the other children didn’t. Some of his good friends learned few signs of the sign language in order to communicate with Toby, but the others were just ignorant and chose to avoid him instead. He was sad because of it. But he cherished those few friends from his street who liked spending time with him and who came to his garden whenever the moon was full and the garden covered by its brightness.

And even though, we said that Toby had spoken only the sign language, that was not really the truth. Every full moon, the friends would open the gate of Toby’s garden and head to the back yard where the maple tree and the bench beneath were. Toby would be already there waiting for them and watching the stars. And then something extraordinary would happen. Toby would be able to hear the moon talking to him as well as all those twinkling stars. And he would talk to them listening to their cosmic voice and language he could only understand. His friends who had already got used to his super power to talk to the moon and stars would just listen patiently, trying to decode the language that was foreign to them. Once Toby finished his conversation with all those shiny objects of the night, he would try to explain to his friends what the conversation had been about. And his friends would eagerly look at him putting extra efforts to understand all the signs of the sign language and the explanation Toby had given them. Anyway, the grown-ups didn’t know about this Toby’s ability, not even his parents. And his friends kept the secret as something sacred and valuable. They were proud that they were present when those objects which you could see only at night were able to talk. It was unbelievable!

Thanks to Toby and his fascinating ability to talk that foreign cosmic language, all his dear friends from the street learned the sign language. Eventually, all of them used it perfectly and Toby never felt that he missed talking to someone. He had his friends down on the earth and he had the other friends, the moon and stars, high up above the earth. He was a lucky boy.

About the Author

Ana Vidosavljevic is from Serbia and currently living in Indonesia. She is a teacher, international relations specialist, writer, translator, interpreter, journalist, surfer and mother. Her collection of short stories Mermaids was published by Adelaide Books in September 2019, and a memoir Flower Thieves will be published by the same publishing house in April 2020.