Time Bean flew above the skyline, returning to his office after another adventure in time. It had been a long journey back to the present day, and he was looking forward to getting caught up with work.
He entered through his office window and went straight to his desk where he found two neat stacks of mail. Through the doorway Time Bean could see Max, his office manager, seated at his desk in the waiting room. Max is a turtle, Time Bean’s best friend, and a very important member of the Time Bean Co team.
Time Bean buzzed Max on the intercom, “Could you get me a glass of milk and a cookie, please?”
“Welcome back Time Bean. Someone is here to see you, her name is Maya,” Max buzzed back.
“Oh, please send her in,” said Time Bean, without the intercom. Maya stood up and walked into Time Bean’s office. Max stuck his head in the doorway after her, “What about your snack, sir?” he asked.
“Better make it two glasses of milk. And two cookies.” Time Bean walked between his papers to the front edge of his desk and smiled at Maya as she sat down in the chair in front of him.
“You can travel in time?” Maya asked, her eyes filling with tears. But before Time Bean could respond she said, “Sparky’s gone. He was my best friend and now he’s gone!”
“Who is Sparky?” asked Time Bean.
“My dog, and he’s gone.” Maya sobbed into her hands.
“Oh, my!” Said Time Bean, looking very concerned.
“You have to save him.” Maya sniffled.
“How did it happen?” asked Time Bean.
Maya answered, “It was my fault. I left the gate open in the morning. I had to go to school. I didn’t even see him following me. He just walked out into the street and a car hit him.” Time Bean gasped. Maya continued, “Mom always says to shut the gate. You have to do something. I miss him so much! You have to go back, you can still save him.”
Time Bean scratched the top of his head and looked toward the window. He turned to Maya, “This is too big a problem to solve with the magic of time travel.” Maya buried her face into her hands. “However,” Said Time Bean, “I think I know how I can help.”
“Tell me about Sparky.” said Time Bean.
Maya told Time Bean about her parents bringing Sparky home as a puppy. “He was so cute and fluffy,” she said. “I was just a little girl when he came to live with us.” Maya told Time Bean about all the special things that she and Sparky would do each day. “One summer we took him to the beach and he tried to drink the ocean! Twice!” She giggled. “It was salty and he kept spitting it out. Like he forgot. It was so funny. One night it was raining really hard, and there was even thunder. I was scared but I didn’t have to tell anyone because Sparky protected me. Every day before school we would play in the yard, and run in circles, it was so much fun – and now, he’s gone!” Maya began to cry again.
“I’m so sorry Maya,” said Time Bean.
For a moment, Time Bean and Maya sat without saying a word. The office was quiet except for the sounds coming from outside the window. Time Bean flew to the window sill and looked out. “Losing your best friend is a very sad thing. It is too sad for words. It feels like the hurt will never go away.”
Maya nods her head. She didn’t say anything.
“ You know, I can see the park from my window here,” said Time Bean. Maya got up and came to the window. The park below had winding sidewalks and tall trees. There was a field of grass with a water fountain and a bench at the edge.
“ There is a lady that comes and sits on that bench every morning. She was there today, I saw her. Every morning she feeds pigeons in the park,” said Time Bean. “Did you know, another name for pigeon is ‘Rock Dove’? Isn’t that pretty?” Maya leaned in to look, but did not answer.
“Some days the lawn is full of pigeons catching her crumbs. Some days only a couple of pigeons come. Some days she only sits there by herself. When it rains and the leaves fall down, or when it snows, she is always there no matter what. I used to think that she was doing an awful lot of work to feed the pigeons. I wondered if it made her sad when they weren’t there, but she always looked happy. Finally I figured it out, that feeding the pigeons was as important to her as it was to the pigeons. They counted on her for food and she counted on them for friendship. It reminds me of you and Sparky.”
“How?” Maya asked.
“You are going to miss him for a long time.” said Time Bean.
“But how am I like the lady that feeds the birds?” Maya asked again.
“When you love someone, that love stays with you.” said Time Bean. “It becomes a part of who you are. Just as loving you was a part of Sparky. You have that now, it will be with you forever. That is the magic of being friends.”
After a while Max entered the room bringing with him a tray of milk and cookies. “Maya, your mother called.” He said. “She is on her way to pick you up. She will be here soon.”
The three of them sat in Time Bean’s office waiting for Maya’s mom to arrive, enjoying their snack together.