JILL HOY: MAINE / MANHATTAN

Max Weinstein, age 13, wrote a character description for his language arts class. he chose Jill Hoy, who finds it the best essay , she can imagine , to represent her. We run through the woods behind her, she is fast; she is a thick red wool sweater over a tie dye cotton dress. She is gray hair flowing behind her, struggling to keep up, like us. There are flies and rain around us, but they do not touch her. A force field of colorful, garage sale bought clothing protects her. She stops and we breathe long and hard, but not her. A pencil held in her hand, she sketches a fallen tree sinking into the earth burying itself shamelessly. "Jill that's beautiful," I say. "Aww, Maxy," she giggles. Something in the woods catches her eye and it pulls her away, deeper into the woods. Everyone else has caught up now and they all look around for Jill but she is gone, a thick layer of mosquitoes left for us. A loud bell sounds deep into the fog. "Shit," John says. "That's our boat and my duck decoy buying, ocean painting wife is off frolicking in this hellhole Mosquito Island!" I look around; there are pine trees, huge pink rocks, and no Jill. Jill is like Maine, bright colors and powerful oceans, Maine is different, unlike any other place, and so is she. "Jill!" I yell but she doesn't reply. I can picture her sitting on a large piece of granite, sketching the ocean and trees into her notebook, her worn hands carving her surroundings onto thick pieces of paper. She is not the average mother. Memories of when her son Gabe, our friend Jacob and I built an explosive out of a sock stuffed with dozens of sparklers and a can of Axe Body Spay fill my head. We of course had done it concealed in Gabe's room sure that no parent would be cool enough to support their child building a bomb with his friends out of a cologne bottle. But she had walked in on our operation and seemed very proud of our creativity. "Kleenex," she suggested, "Kleenex burns really well." So we put a couple Kleenex in Gabe's old smelly sock and headed for the backyard. We sat it down on a large slab of Maine granite, striking match after match, only for it to be extinguished by the salty Maine wind. We stood there, staring at our non-exploding explosive, trying to find a way around the wind that seems to blow out our fire, and then...POW, a loud banging sound bounces around the woods and Jill grabs me, screaming. We all began to laugh while a ten foot ball of red is swayed on top of the huge rock we are all standing on and we are hypnotized by it. By now we are all covered in bug bites, our legs ache as we head back to the boat, still calling for Jill. "Are we gonna leave her here?" I ask, "We can't just leave her." "We won't leave her," says my mom. She is right, just then I see a figure moving across the shore, holding a book filled with a newly painted world in one hand. I ride Back to Jill's house with Gabe house, tired and bitten. Jill's garden welcomes us from the street and we park in their driveway and head into their tall white house. Paintings line the wall; there are turning oceans in their living room, worn rowboats in their kitchen and wooden antiques covering the ground. Behind the house there is a small patch of grass surrounded by two granite hills, there is a blue water heater, speckled with paint, pressed against the white walls of their house, Jill thought the water heater was a little too boring and drab, so Gabe and I attacked it with a yellow can of paint. A buoy hangs from a tree next to a worn flag. Gabe and I walk upstairs towards his room; we pass a guestroom filled with paintings and a bathroom the size of the sink itself. I look over at a big wooden door with white paint peeling off the bottom, from years of swinging back and forth. I am reminded of playing hide and seek as a little kid. Gabe began to count and I quickly ran around the house looking for somewhere to hide. A white door caught my eye, why had I never noticed it before? I opened up the door and a wooden rocking horse stared me down from inside of the room. I closed the door behind me and entered this small, hidden room. A huge Jack in the Box was in the corner and a pile of old bowling pins stood beside it. This room smelled like nothing I had ever encountered, it was cozy and smelled worn, but not bad, I wanted to trap this air in a bag and bring it back to Atlanta. To my left there were two clothing racks. Flowered dresses and orange sweaters peaked out of this mass of clothing. On top of the two stuffed clothing racks were hats, there was a green sombrero, a beige sunhat and a black top hat. Hundreds of Saturday yard sale purchases that Jill had been unable to put in their already stuffed living room without John noticing. "MAKE A NOISE," Gabe yelled. I stayed silent, I felt scared, scared of being found. I wanted to stay in this room forever. I crawled under a pile of colorful wool sweaters, still completely silent. "MAKE A NOISE!" Gabe yelled again. But I couldn't, I wanted to stay in this room forever, live under this warm pile of wool. I heard footsteps coming near and I held my breath. "MOM," Gabe yelled, "I can't find Max." The door creaked open and I heard Jill's voice calling for me. I jumped out from the pile of clothing, grinning.