“Digging to China again, boys?” Mrs. Hillier leaned on the fence, her wide brimmed hat casting a shadow over her face. The boys didn’t know why grown-ups asked the same questions every time you saw them, but they knew that it was polite to answer as if you hadn’t heard the question before.
Sam gave a reply, but, as usual, he said it too quietly. And, as usual, Ryan repeated Sam’s words loud enough to be heard. “We’re trying but we haven’t gotten there yet.”
“Well, let me know if you get there, I could use a trip.” She gave her usual laugh and went back to her gardening.
“Why doesn’t she dig to China, too, Ryan? She’s got a shovel and good dirt.”
“She’s a grown-up, Sam. Grown-ups won’t try to dig to China, they’re too sensible.” The word sensible fell out of his mouth like it tasted bad and he started in with the shovel again, scraping away at the muddy rocks at the bottom of the hole. It was kind of fun to pry the rocks out, it was one of his favourite parts of digging.
Grown-ups didn’t have any fun as far as he could tell, everything they did had to be part of a big plan. His Dad was always saying that they had a change in plans, or that something wasn’t in the plans. Ryan thought all his Dad’s plans were pretty boring.
The boys had been out digging since early morning and they were pleased with their progress. They were taking turns pulling shovelfuls of dirt out of the bottom and piling it to the side, it was difficult for them to throw the dirt on top now, the pile was getting too high. That wasn’t going to stop them though, once it got high enough, they would get to dig the pile out of place to make more room. The only thing more fun than one pile of dirt was two piles of dirt.
“Does she really think that we can get to China, Ryan? Can we do that?” Sam didn’t just rely on his older brother to amplify his voice, he expected that Ryan would have all the answers he needed. Ryan hadn’t let him down yet.
“I don’t know, Sam. We can dig a big hole though. I just like digging.” Ryan was pretty sure that he couldn’t dig to China. China was really, really far away, even if you dug right through the planet.
“I like digging, too, Ryan. Digging is fun. I like making a big pile of dirt. That’s the best part.” Sam nodded toward the rocks and earth they had dragged from the hole. “I think our pile even has worms in it. I like worms, too.”
Ryan looked through the fence at Mrs. Hillier. She was sitting back on her heels, wiping her forehead with the back of her hand, smiling to herself. She probably wasn’t digging to China, but it seemed like she just liked digging, too. She probably didn’t even mind the worms.