It was perfect. The sun was out, the wind was tame. Ashton lay on his back- the silky grass of the meadow felt soft on his bare skin.
He finally had a chance to be by himself- the humans didn’t come near this part of the country. So he was safe from any interrupting yells of fright or disgust. He took a deep breath of the fresh air, then shut his eyes sleepily. A short nap was all he wished for…
Five year old Kelly had seen this giant more than once. He was enormous- he seemed bigger than the first time she had seen him! She could see his gargantuan body lying in the emerald green meadow. He appeared to be sleeping…
It was Kelly’s chance! She looked down at her school backpack and took out her pair of binoculars. She peered through them, zooming in onto the giant’s face. His eyelids were shut, and his great mouth was open slightly.
He was definitely asleep.
Kelly was beyond excited . She could approach him easily now… She clapped her hands in delight and grabbed her backpack before slinging it over her little shoulders. She took a deep breath then sprinted from her hiding spot, heading straight for the enormous giant.
“Oh Mr. Giant! Mr. Giant!!! Wake up!” a bell like sound rang in Ashton’s ears. It sounded like a child… A little girl yelling into the air.
Ashton grunted irritably. “Hmmmmph?” He wasn’t absolutely sure if he was dreaming or not. Despite this thought, Ashton refused to open his eyes.
“Mr. Giiiiiiiaaaaaant!” the voice cried. “Can you please wake up?”
Ashton cursed inwardly and let out an angry groan. “What?” he slowly opened his eyes and glared into a tiny face.
A little girl, a little human girl, about six years old, was gazing at Ashton with pure wonder.
“Oh! You’re awake!” she squealed. “I thought you were sick or something.”
Ashton stared at her and let out a patient sigh. A smile began to form on his lips. “Who are you?” he asked sleepily.
“I’m Kelly!” the little human exclaimed. “And I want to do an interview with you!”
The young giant raised his eyebrows. “Interview?” he repeated dubiously. He was genuinely confused.. Why would a human want to talk to a giant? Humans were terrified of giants… Weren’t they?
“Yeah! I have to do an interview with an ‘interesting person’” the girl said smiling even wider. “And I thought, I should do YOU!”
“Me?” Ashton stuttered. “But- aren’t you afraid of me---?”
“You’re not scary!” the girl laughed happily. Before Ashton could protest, the tiny creature scrambled over to his face and put her dimpled hand onto the tip of his nose.
Ashton tried to steady his breathing. How was this happening? A tiny human- a little girl was trusting him?
The light touch of her hand made Ashton blush uncontrollably.
“I have a recorder,” Kelly said clapping her hands. “So can I interview you? PLEASE?”
Ashton chuckled and nodded slowly. “Sure…”
“YAAAAAY!” Kelly threw up her littler arms and skipped over to what looked like a school bag.
Ashton wanted to sit up- but he still believed Kelly was in fact afraid of him… He didn’t want to risk scaring her by sitting up….
He watched fascinated as the young human took out a tiny grey device and turne it on- it took about several seconds for Kelly to figure out the on and off switch.
“It’s Working! It’s working!” Kelly sang. She giggled loudly and walked back over to Ashton.
“Can I sit on your lap?” she asked.
Ashton winced. “You sure? I mean- you aren’t nervous---?”
“Yes! Lap Lap Lap!” Kelly yelled.
“Okay…” Ashton felt uneasy as he began to sit up. He felt terrible when his shadow covered Kelly’s tiny form.
He held out his hand and gently guided Kelly into his palm. “You okay?”
“This iS AWESOME!” Kelly gasped.
Ashton grinned at her joyfulness. Her little feet tickled his skin and her hands gripped onto Ashton’s thumb.
He placed her onto his thigh and sighed. “Okay- what do you want to know, Kelly?” he asked smiling.
Kelly folded her little hands together and scrunched her face together in thought. “Uuuuuum…. What is your name?”
“It’s Ashton,” he replied.
“Ashton?” Kelly repeated. Then she giggled. “I like that name!”
“Next question!” Kelly cut him off. She extracted a tiny note pad from her pocket and tapped the surface with her pen.
“Ashton,” she spoke in a low serious voice. “WHAT do you like to do?”
“What do I like to do?” Ashton bit his lip as he thought. “Well.. I like to do lots of things… I like to take naps, and watch sunsets---“
“No! That’s boring,” Kelly complained. “My uncle does that! What do GIANTS do for fun?”
Ashton couldn’t help but laugh at Kelly’s adorable expression. “Well, when I was younger, I liked to swim in the ocean- I would try and catch sharks and whales!”
Kelly’s eyes bulged. “WHOOOOA! That’s SO cool!” she stuck her tongue out and looked at her note pad again.
“Okay! Um- what makes you laugh?” Kelly asked.
Ashton chuckled and nodded down at her. “Little kids like you always make me laugh.”
“Okay! How about… What makes you sad?” Kelly’s smile faded as she spoke.
“Um…” Ashton frowned. He looked at his hands for a moment before answering. “It makes me really sad when people run away from me- it’s hard to be a giant because a lot of people are scared of me…”
“Oh…” Kelly crawled farther up Ashton’s thigh. “That is sad…”
Ashton tried to smile, but he couldn’t. “Yeah… We really aren’t that bad. Most giants just want to feel included! We don’t mean any harm…”
He wanted to explain his feelings more, but he was speaking to a child. What would she know?
“My friends excluded me…” Kelly said looking into Ashton’s eyes. “They made fun of me because I looked different,”
Ashton instantly felt ashamed for his previous thoughts about this girl. “That’s awful!” he breathed. “How could anyone do that to you?”
“Well- I don’t know…” Kelly bit her lip and wiped her eyes. Ashton felt absolutely terrible for making her cry.
“I’m sorry!” he whispered. “I shouldn’t have said that…”
“I’m okay,” Kelly said smiling. But her glistening eyes betrayed her.
Ashton reached down and gently brought the human to his eyes. “Why don’t you ask a different question?” he asked softly. “Maybe ask a funny one?”
Kelly giggled and scooted closer to Ashton’s eyes. “Yeah! I have a lot more!”
“Good!” Ashton was relieved to hear that the girl was lightening up. She seemed to have an eternal joyfulness within her. It was truly special.
“What are you afraid of?” Kelly asked loudly. “Because I always thought giants weren’t afraid of anything!”
Ashton winced. “Um- I’m afraid of birds…”
“Birds?” Kelly laughed out loud. “Birds are pretty!”
“Oh yes- pretty, but they always squawk and peck me when I get to close to trees!”
“That’s funny!” Kelly’s bubbly laugh made Ashton grin from ear to ear. He had not felt this happy for years… Who knew, a little human child could cause his heart to lift so high?
“What are you afraid of?” Ashton raised an eyebrow curiously. “You seem fearless to me!”
Kelly leaned closer and beckoned Ashton to lean closer. “It’s a secret!” she said quietly. “You have to SWEAT you won’t tell!”
“I won’t! I swear,” Ashton whispered.
Kelly nodded and held up her pinky. “Pinky swear?”
“Yes,” Ashton held up his own pinky and brushed it against Kelly’s little hand.
“Fine- I’m afraid of… I’m afraid of fish,” Kelly whispered.
Ashton tried to hold it in, but before he knew it a bellowing laughter erupted from his throat.
“Fish?” he laughed.
“Don’t laugh!” Kelly made a pouty face. But it made Ashton laugh harder.
“You’re afraid of tiny little fish- but you are willing to talk to a GIANT?”
“Well YOU’RE scared of birds!” Kelly said smirking. “And you are WAY bigger than me- I win!”
Ashton rolled his eyes playfully and held the human closer to his eyes. “Fine,” he said in a soft voice. “You win!”
“I have more questions…” Kelly reminded him. “So you have to be a good listener,”
“Yes, I will be,” Ashton nodded, trying to repress another chuckle.
“Have… you ever eaten someone?”
The question caught Ashton off guard. He stared wide eyed at Kelly’s calm expression.
She was still grinning.
“Um- Kelly, giants don’t eat people…” Ashton said shaking his head.
“They don’t?” Kelly frowned.
“No!” Ashton cocked his head to the side, trying to understand the reasoning behind Kelly’s question.
“Oh…” Kelly scowled. “Darn it!”
Ashton didn’t say anything. She was angry that he didn’t murder people?!
“Then you’re just a big ol softie!” Kelly’s frown disappeared as soon as it had come. “I knew you were!”
Ashton blushed. “And you’re a very sweet girl,” he said smiling. “And you are very brave, Kelly,”
“Wow! You think I’m brave?” Kelly gasped.
“Of course!” Ashton held up his hands for emphasis. ‘You’re talking to a giant! Do you know how many humans have run away from me? All of them were older than you!”
“Cool! So I must be super duper brave!” Kelly grinned. “Will you be here tomorrow, Ashton?”
Ashton bit his lip. “Um.. I don’t know, Kelly…”
“Please?” Kelly begged. “I like being your friend! I want to play with you all the time!”
Ashton felt a rush of joy flow through him. “Friend? You want to be my friend?” he asked breathlessly.
“Yes you silly goose!” Kelly leapt into his open hands and patted his thumb vigorously.
“Really?” he lifted his hand up to his eyes and gazed wondrously into the girl’s eyes.
“I already told you!” Kelly said rolling her eyes. Then she kissed the tip of Ashton’s nose. “You’re my bestest friend,” she said softly.
Ashton blushed. “Aw, that means so much to me Kelly!”
He lowered her down to the ground and laughed. “So, will you be here tomorrow?” he asked hopefully.
“Yeah! I come here everyday!” Kelly said grabbing her bag. “Will YOU be here?”
“Yes, I will be…” Ashton gazed down at her and chuckled. “It was so great talking to you… Thank you for- not running away..”
“But I have to run home? Does that count?” Kelly sounded worried.
“Oh Kelly- no- that’s totally fine,” Ashton said gently. She was too cute!
“Okie dokey!’ Kelly waved up at him and began skipping away. “BYYYYE ASHTON! I LOVE YOU!”
Ashton’s heart raced at the sound of those precious words. He waved as well, before standing up. This way he could watch her tiny form race through the forest.
“Bye, Kelly! I love you too…” his words trailed off as she drew farther and farther away.
Ashton dug his hands deep into his pockets and looked up at the falling sun. He took in a deep breath of air and grinned. ‘What a perfect ending to a perfect day’ he thought to himself.
He looked at his palms, remembering Kelly’s innocent touch… He truly hoped she’d return the next day… Having her come without any words of disgust, without judgments? It was an amazing gift.
Giants were viewed as monsters. But that little girl had so much love in her, she didn’t care about the fact that Ashton was so enormous.
A few hours passed. Ashton looked up into the darkened sky and picked out one of the majestic stars to wish upon.
He wished he’d see Kelly again, he wished that he'd see her beaming face, and hear her bubbly laugh. He wished these things over and over again in his head before he finally shut his eyes, and fell into a deep, satisfying sleep.