Susan's Blog

Monday, November 21, 2005

More on the Brothers

This is fiction, FYI.

Nick pulled the seatbelt over his body and felt it click into place. He loved the fastened seatbelt. He loved the car. In the car, everyone looked ahead or out the window. People talked but he didn’t have to. He could just look straight ahead at the lines in the car leather, watch them blur and then sharpen, blur and sharpen, creating gray thicker lines that shimmered and waved. He loved things that shimmered and waved.

He first discovered the shimmers when his Aunt Lena had picked up Floppy Bunny and tossed him into the air, shouting, “Hi Nick! Hi Nick!” in a squeaky voice. Nick knew that Floppy Bunny did not sound that way but he didn’t mind the squeakiness because he loved the way Floppy Bunny wiggled in the air and gently tumbled downward, blurring into an airy waterfall before his eyes. The downward shimmering of his Bunny washed over him like cool water, such a beautiful motion, that Nick felt like laughing with joy. Bubbly giggles had escaped from his throat, surprising him. But they felt good, so he kept doing it.

After that, Nick always tried to reproduce the downward shimmering of objects but nothing worked that well until he discovered ribbon. He wiggled and twirled some white curly ribbon, left over from a birthday present. He was standing in the front hall, where the sun streamed in from the long window at the top of the stairs. As he wiggled the ribbon, the sunlight caught each edge of the ribbon’s curl and shone silvery white. His eyes were bathed in the snowy light that quivered in his hand and he could not move. His heart swelled up and he felt the bubble laughter again, coming out of his mouth, floating around him and wrapping him in sound while the ribbon filled his eyes with light.

A hand wrested the ribbon from his little fingers. “Nick! Nick!” Mommy yelled. “Say, ‘What, Mommy?’”
Nick looked at his empty hand.
“Say, ‘What, Mommy?’” She had pushed her face right in front of his, filling his eyes with her eyes. He looked to the side.
“Say, ‘What, Mommy?’” Again.
Now Nick remembered. The way to get the string back was to say what he heard. “What, Mommy?”
“Good boy!” Mommy showed her teeth and pulled her face back. She slipped the ribbon back into his hand. She pulled out another ribbon from her pocket. “Look, Nick,” she said. She lifted the ribbon up towards the sunlight and proceeded to twirl it as he had done.

Nick watched, mesmerized. He looked at the ribbon, then at Mommy. Her teeth were showing a lot. He drew his lips back and showed his teeth. “Nice smile, Nick!” Mommy said, her voice getting bubbly. Nick liked it when her voice got bubbles in it. Bubbles and shiny shimmery things were best.

Nick tried to make the lines in the car leather shimmer by crossing his eyes together but he had to be careful. Mommy did not like it when he did this, and though she could not see him while she drove, Dan could.

“What are you doin,’ ya freak?” whispered Dan. He could see Nick squinting at the back of Mom’s seat, as if he were reading it.
“Yes,” Nick replied, without looking up.
“I said, ‘what the heck are ya doing!’” shouted Dan.
Henry lurched around from the front seat. “Dan, he’s not a freak!”
Mommy sighed. “Danny, what is Nick doing?”
“He’s staring cross-eyed again!”
Mommy sighed louder. “Nick, do you want to listen to some music?”
“No listen to music,” Nick said, “NO LISTEN TO MUSIC!!” He shouted.
“Quiet!” Dan shouted back.
Henry dug into his pocket and inserted his ear buds into his ears. He turned his head away, and stared out the window.

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