“You guys put so much thought into these gifts. I couldn’t have asked for better birthday presents. I will cherish them forever.” She’s fraught with emotions as tears pour out of her eyes, feeling embarrassed until she sees Leona wipe away a few of her own.
“Okay, open mine,” Leona suggests, perking up. She wipes her nose and smiles at her sons for their thoughtfulness.
“Leona, you reserved this beautiful area at this huge lake and you’re throwing me a party later. You really didn’t have to get me anything else.”
“No, no, I want you to have this,” she insists.
Amelia politely smiles and pulls out a white gift box from the bag. Inside lies a gold bracelet adorned with a dark blue marble set inside the center that reads “Orenda.”
“Leona, this is lovely. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Thank you. I hoped you would like it. I designed the marble myself. Orenda means ‘magic power,’ or ‘Great Spirit.’ I don’t know why but it reminds me of you.”
“I don’t know what to say…it’s amazing. I didn’t know you could make jewelry.” Amelia can’t believe she reminds Leona of a Great Spirit.
“Back when I lived in Arizona, I learned how to make things like that and sell them. I met a really nice lady who showed me the craft. She used to sell silver and turquoise on the reservation,” Leona explains.
This is the first time Leona has ever opened up about her past. She puts the bracelet on her wrist and watches it shine in the sunlight.
“It’s so fancy. I guess I could get used to it,” Amelia says.
“Well I hope so,” Leona laughs. She takes a bite of her burger and grins at Eli and Navid.
Amelia puts the other gifts away with a huge grin on her face. “All right, guys. I’m full and ready for fun so…I’ll race you to the beach!” she yells halfway down the hill.
“You cheated!” they scream.
She giggles while pulling off her shorts and jumps into the water. She relaxes her body and floats down the beach. She stares at the bright sky and embraces her stress-free moment, a far cry from what she’s been forced to bear. The water adds so much freedom that she finds herself meditating, until Eli and Navid swim up and splash water everywhere.
“This is so much fun!” Navid shouts.
“Yeah, I’m having a blast. This is by far one of the best days I’ve had in a long time,” Amelia admits. Their smiles fade. “Listen, guys, I want to thank you again for the gifts. They’re really cool.”
“Oh, no problem, we’re glad you liked them,” Eli shouts, staying afloat. He splashes water in Navid’s eyes and swims away with Navid right behind him. Amelia can’t help but smile at them, wishing only for a second that she had a sibling. But when she thinks about what has happened, she’s glad she doesn’t.
She looks around to see where Leona has gone and can’t find her anywhere. Then she spots her heading in her direction. Some guy is walking very close to her side with a goofy grin on his face. Leona looks at him with starry eyes and smiles as they approach the water. He looks familiar.