Sometimes I Watch Tobin

Codewriter is oblivious to our reflection in one of his dozen mirrors.

“Can you see him?” asks Asian boy, snowflakes occasionally shorting out around them.

“Is he alright? Is that really him? I mean, right now?” One of our mutual acquaintences is equally as fascinated so I’ve brought him into this passage with me.

And she wonders while they look over an obnoxious shade of blonde bowed in mourning, if he could write a program for her brother,
because he has a virus
that reminds her
of herself.

Few will be as understood as easily as a story from the very beginning, presented in friendly font with colorful templates that changed several times a year.

“He doesn’t get down on things the way that you and I do. He has always seemed to operate, spot on, and I’ve admired him for that ability to sort out what actually matters from the stuff that shouldn’t. You know, at one point I received so much data from him that I was able to rewire some very important things in this system.”

The Reverend continues to inquire, curious about the portal’s depiction of an uneasy Christmas Day.

“Good for you! But why is he upset, here? What’s the matter?”

With a faint smile she touches the glass, leaving an ISP print where pale hands are flipping through some photographs.

“He’s not really a robot.”

Therein always lies his biggest problem.

Content and Sleepy.

Traffic on the way to work was bumper to bumper and some guy decided to zip out of a parking lot and into the turn lane before nudging his front tire over in front of the tiny space between me and the car ahead of me. It was the not-so-subtle claiming of space in line – not enough to actually get himself out there and too much obstacle for me to proceed without assuring his place once the car ahead of me had gone on.

I moved my face forward and gave him a glare that suggested I had been strategically working to get as far up as I was and didn’t appreciate his selfish move. Seeing that I was upset, the guy had the nerve to flash me the peace sign with eye contact – one of those “no offense, this is just what i really wanted” expressions –

right before slamming himself into the vehicle ahead of us. Traffic had come to a dead stop within the tenth of a second he’d taken to address me. And there was damage.

Grinning, I pulled into the turn lane and made sure to flash the peace sign right back as I maneuvered around him. It was a sweet evening of the score between me and the city.

Coming To A Short Stop

Dreamed last night that I was watching after two young children as they clung to little tubes in the middle of a lake. Swimming with them I see the image of an old, scary looking dog and comment that it’s “not Lacy (our house pet who passed away not too long ago)”. The next thing I know, water is turning shades of orange and yellow while the kids are slipping through their tubes, underwater. Constantly reaching down to retrieve them, I made my way to the side. A spotlight of yellow was traveling under the water like an evil entity searching for someone.

Of course when I reached down to grab the kidss, they had fallen under once more and I had to actually go back under the water and grab their limbs through a foggy orange view, driven and determined. I remember throwing them up over onto the grass, forcefully. It was a nightmare with a happy ending.

The last time I was home I had a few hours to myself and walked down into the den where the natural light was beginning to fade, replaced by the odd glow of Dr. Mario on my father’s television as he mindlessly piled colored blocks with the sound off. There was a new chair to replace the loveseat I took with me and I collapsed into the dark green mechanism, trying out the various vibration settings. The furnace always kicks on several degrees higher than any normal house does, that warm, intoxicating air made my eyelids heavy. Our back porch lights were strung around the awning, bright red and visible from the window beside me. Suddenly everything was quiet as though my life had been paused and I treasured every second under the radar – feeling again the relief from having nowhere to be and no one expecting a thing from you.

I knew instantly why I lived the way I did for so long and just what exactly that tempting, heavy mystery of paralysis was so thick over our acre of land in the middle of nowhere – it is summer vacation when you’re a kid. It is your cottage in Florida without the ocean or floral shirts – death without actually drowning. It is an uphill plunge into the air, drawn-out suspension with only a downhill view in sight.

The fringe is wicked, misleading. Irresistible. I could have rested there for another decade.

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Christopher is in a place where the vaguely recognized faces of undergraduates dress in scrubs and open doors that allow me to the other side. Apparently he was in a bad way one morning, riding with dad, on empty and worried that his nausea meant he could be in real trouble. They went to the emergency room and he was involuntarily admitted after some troublesome conversation.

Caught out of his room. What a terrible way to emerge.

Dry-erase boards read all kinds of stupid shit like: tend to your gardening. Read. Go for a walk. Play a game. His roommate sleeps in the “quiet room” for unknown reasons and one young man on the floor is always at real, live war. For several days my brother had to live in this environment with no word on why they felt he needed to stay or what kind of process he’d be put through.

The only thing he had was the yellow paper folded in his pocket for every day of the week. 7 a.m. therapy. 12 o clock lunch and meds. More therapy. Visiting hours. Dinner and therapy. Movie choice. So many questions and the horrible feeling that no one would receive his inquiries.

One doctor brought in a diagnosis and read it out loud in front of us.

“Okay, well, it rules out schizophrenia entirely: psychosis NOS”.

Chris turns 90 degrees towards me and says in a low, calm tone, “Did that guy just call me psychotic?”

The things I had to say about his living conditions, learned behavior and other probable causes for any angry outbreaks made a few eyes widen behind their clipboard. A pen started scribbling as I humiliated myself with a blunt summary of my twenty years living
with him and the half-wolves who tried to raise us.

Now they’re thinking that he isn’t so crazy and they’re asking if he can move in with me. Now it’s my fault for not being able to house him and I have to insist on group therapy and whatever social program that might be able to help my brother with the few, simple things that overwhelmed the both of us for half our lives. He hasn’t been able to get through and recover the way that I have – he just couldn’t take it.

We ate dinner at home without him, Brad taking his seat. Pointed ears visible to a keen eye, my mom put a hand through her hair and passed the green bean casserole. Dad, furriest of all and with large, dull fangs, sat there with us for the first time in a year and found ways to make little, offensive comments as though they were part of decent conversation.

“I don’t like green beans.”
“I don’t either, but I like them in this. This is good.”
“You could put peas in it, that’d be good. I don’t know why your mother didn’t.”
“It’s fine the way it is!”
“I really thought she would have.”

***
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