Andy didn’t speak. He heard. His head turned wherever sounds came from, but he didn’t speak.
He didn’t see either, just shadows and movements.
Andy didn’t walk. If he was held up, he’d take one step, cry, and sit again.
We tried to interact. Roll balls. Clap our hands. Sing songs. Sometimes he’d ignore us, oftentimes he’d cry. Only mami’s voice calmed him. She fed him. Changed him. Bathed him.
Andy lived in an impenetrable, non-communicative, dark world filled with shadows and sounds. He passed on at age eleven. He would’ve turned 54 this October. Instead, he’s an eternal infant.
The Gaslight was extra packed. Angelica’s dark hair, usually piled atop her head, loosely framed her heart-shaped face. “Cheers, Angelica!” toasted her friends. It was tough, but she passed the bar on the first try.
Everyone was there: Eve, Frances, Frank, Joe, Professor Kendall, Sissy. Everyone, that is, except Lenny. He did not pass. He said he had to work late, but deep inside she knew he was home sulking.
She gulped a shot, then another. Not today, boyfriend, she said to herself. Today you don’t rain on my parade. Her eyes glistened, a cross between alcohol and unshed tears.
The babysitter sat the toddler on the potty chair. “Concentrate,” she commanded as she scrunched up her face and feigned to push.
The toddler, eager to please, imitated the sounds and gestures. Her tiny face reddened in the process yet she produced no results.
“We’ll try again tomorrow,” reassured the babysitter.
The next day, Mommy and baby went to meet friends at the diner. The two-year-old quickly bored. She fidgeted and became disruptive.
Mommy sat her on the high chair and said, “Concentrate,” unaware the babysitter used the command for other lessons.
Baby scrunched up her face did the deed.
“I have you,” he sighed. Or was it I love you? Clarissa’s eyes jolted. How to clarify without disrupting the afterglow? She loved him so much. Or did she? Did she really know love? It was too soon, in her opinion, to face this crossroad. There had been previous disappointments. She wanted to make certain. Oh, but how she hoped he said love and drifted to a light sleep. The room filled with magic eight balls. “Does he love me?” she asked each one. “Concentrate and ask again.” Her face contorted. A guttural cry escaped. “Love shouldn’t be this hard!”