Credits to Amy Judd for her beautiful painting. It's a perfect representation of the mystery behind some of my characters.
Tufts of my hair fell past my ears tickling the tips of them as they journeyed down. I shivered, it in between a giggle and squirm. Hands were put on the side of my head, steadying it.
“Careful or I’ll just cut one long strip down the middle of your head and be done with it.
” My dad threatened, he put the scissors close enough to my ears that I could hear them menacingly close and open.
” Hands where put to the side of my face again and I was forced to tilt my head down. There were two scissor snips by my ear, warning me that he would begin again.
This time I did laugh, my head turned upward. “I highly doubt you’ll let your only son walk around the house looking like a clown.
“It’s just you and me bud. I could be dressing you in a “Worlds Biggest Loser Shirt” and you would never know.” I felt a comb run through my hair and pull at strands.
After a few more snips soft hair rained down from my scalp.
“If we really are some of the last real people left we can make the word loser mean anything we want.” A hearty rumble migrated from my dad's stomach and was released from his mouth.
His laugh vibrated through my body, it made me smile close to a laugh too. It wasn’t just the sound, it was the vibration I loved too.
I guess when you’re blind you get a thing for vibrations, at least that’s what Dad said.
“Is that so?” He combed through my hair a few times, the scissors clicked as they were set down.
“Yes it is so, in this house loser can also mean the guy with the best teeth around.”
“So I guess I’m a loser then,” He chuckled again, more subdued but just as happy.
I scoffed as dramatically, it sent a vibration through my dad again. “I beg to differ, my teeth are clearly the whitest you’ll ever see.”
“Do you even remember the color white?” He asked, almost seriously as he took whatever cloth was over my clothing.
I closed my eyes, forcing my brains few memories of vision back into the forefront of my mind.
“It’s the bright one right? It’s like...you know...clean? Like a hospital?” My dad clapped, it traveled a lot more than I would have thought.
I couldn’t tell if he was still in the living room or not.
“Yeah, you’re right kiddo. You know, when you could see you would always call it yellow.” He stepped away from me, stomping with each step.
I put my hand on the back of my chair and stood up, reaching to the left I grabbed my walking stick and fully stood up.
“I still remember yellow, it’s the one I see the most in my dreams.” I swung the walking stick gently in front of me as I followed my dad's footsteps.
“You and your mother both loved yellow, I guess some things never change.” The chair leg screeched as my dad pushed in. I followed the sound and touched the dining table to stabilize myself.
“I might love yellow but it’s still not my favorite color.”
“Oh? You have a favorite color?”
“Stop pretending, you know full well what my favorite color is.” I swung my stick upward hoping to catch my dad in the butt, I only succeeded in hitting the back of a chair in front of me.
My dad laughed, I wasn’t close enough to feel the rumble but the sound was sweet enough. “Are you sure you can’t jog my memory?”
“Honestly dad are you some sort of narcissist?
” I took a few steps forward and tried swinging again at him but I only caught the edge of the stove, I groaned and settled with just jabbing at the vicinity I thought he was in.
“Ow, watching where you’re poking that thing.” I wish I could have seen the pout on his face. “I think I deserve to hear the story again just for that.
” My stick fell back to the ground not actually making contact with anything.
“Aren’t you the writer in this twosome we have here?” I pretended to grumble, I scrunched my face up and imagined how annoyed I probably looked.
“Fine! But make sure you add extra pineapples on the pizza tonight,”
“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Germ.” He teased, I sighed loudly and pulled out the closest chair. I patted the seat before lowering myself onto it and sitting comfortably.
“When I was four, before I lost my eyesight, mom taught me a few colors. She thought a future artist needed to know their colors, pretty early on.
So every morning when she dressed me she would take us to the mirror in her room and point at every color she put on me.”
“She was trying to condition you from the start,” Dad said, he sounded farther away than before.
“It would have worked if I wasn’t blind.” I teased him, I imagined what his face looked like.
“Well anyway, one day while she was pointing out my colored overalls I looked up and saw your face. And I realized you had the biggest brightest blue eyes in the whole entire world.”
“Germ you were so cute, you’d call me ocean eyes instead of Dad for awhile.” He chuckled again, I wanted him closer so I could feel his happiness too.
“Yeah yeah, whatever. Anyway, I began to hate my eye color because it was just dumb old brown. Then mom said that you had enough eye pigment for all three of us.”
“So we were all ocean eyes.” Dad finished for me, he stepped loudly all the way to me. I leaned my head back knowing his stomach would be there.
“I hope they’re still as bright and as blue as they were before,” I mumbled, my dad's hands ran through my curly freshly cut hair.
Curls tangled around his fingers and released him as they pushed past. My shoulders drooped and an easy smile spread across my face.
“Hey, it’s your turn, Mr. Author. Remember our exchange. For every one story I tell you, you owe me three.”
“Oh, I still think that exchange rate is BS, what standard are we even going off of?”
“Call it the Jeremy exchange rate, it’s like my stories are gold and yours are iron.”
“Whatcha trying to say about my storytelling buster? Think they’re just some commodity?” He poked my nose, it tickled making me giggle.
“Pretty much, my memories are precious and there’s not a ton of them. I’ve only been alive for 14 years, you’ve been around for at least 100 billion.
How else would you know all these stories?”
“First of all punk I’m 37, and I’m paid to write really great and elaborate lies. That probably covers at least 99 billion years of my storytelling knowledge.
“I hate that you call writing lying,” I said honestly, I didn’t want to ruin our mood but every time he called what he did something as ugly as lying it made my skin crawl.
“What else do you call making stuff up?”
“Storytelling?” I offered, the alarm of the oven went off and my father moved away.
“Apples, bananas, oranges, pears. Want a story or not?”
I paused for a moment, it was tempting for me to grill him on using fruit to dismiss his arguments but I wanted a story a lot more.
“You already know what I’m going to say, but I want the one of when you and mom knew I was going to go blind.”
There was an awkwardly silent pause, “Well there’s no point in arguing with you so here we go.” There was shuffling, he stomped towards me and paused next to me.
He set something down on the table and slid it over so that I could hear it. A spreading heat wafted towards my face, I blew downward imagining my cooler air cutting through the heat.
“Two weeks before your fifth birthday the doctor gave us the short and skinny.
They had to operate on your brain but the pressure against your eyes was too great, so either way you would have been blind.
” There was a plopping sound as my Dad loudly sat in his chair, he made a show of scooching his chair closer to mine until our arms were touching.
“And mom cried for an entire day,” I poked at my piece of pizza gauging how hot it would be.
The cheese pressed against my finger and oozed sticking to it, I pulled my hand away and popped my finger into my mouth.
“But only for a day, she realized as an artist she had one of the most important jobs of her career.” There was a pause, my dad’s chewing replaced the sound of his voice.
Using my dad as a cue, I picked up my piece and held it carefully between my two hands, tentatively biting off the very end of my pizza.
“She had to show you so many colors that you’d never forget them. You didn’t need to know the names just shades, shades and tones and emotions colors could bring.”
“You just wanted to lock yourself in your room and write didn’t you?” I elbowed his side, I could feel him getting warmer in subtle embarrassment.
“I did and I probably would have succeeded if it wasn’t for your mom. She needed my help, we needed to turn the entire house into a canvas. Anything colored had to go we needed to hurry.
We threw out our leather couches replaced them with white ones, we painted the walls white, we replaced bed sheets, curtains, tapestry, we hung empty canvases on the wall,
we painted our fence white.” My dad's voice began to get louder, there was more energy pushed into every word as memories came back to him.
“Then we had a color explosion right?” A sort of adrenaline was going through my veins, it was like I was 5 all over again and mom had dumped off a wagon full of just color.
“We sure did kiddo, we tie-dyed every shirt we owned, we tye-dyed the bed sheets, the pillowcases, and even the carpets. We melted crayons against canvases.
We stuck our hands in paint buckets and splattered them against the wall. It was so beautiful, our neighbors honestly thought we lost it.”
“Didn’t Ms. July come over? When she was still around?”
“She sure did!
You answered the door, half your face was orange and the other half was blue, you had crusty paint in your hair, green wax on your shirt, and bright pink lipstick all over your mouth.
” I was amazed at the level of detail my father could remember, when I was younger I always thought he was fibbing, pretending to remember.
But every time the story was told, all 873 times the colors were always the same.
“Moms hair was just pink right?”
Authors Note: I had to stop short because of story length, I will be posting the next part soon.