by H.E. Taylor
|Chapter 45||Table of Contents||Chapter 47|
Boo-Boo, August 26, 2056
I found myself becoming quite anthropological watching Anna learn to walk and talk over the summer. She is a curious and rambunctious child who is always getting into things we thought out of reach. If it isn’t pots and pans, it is the media padd, old shoes — you name it — any damned thing we inadvertently leave open. I walked into the kitchen one day and Anna was sitting in the middle of the floor chewing on a mud-covered carrot she had pulled from a pile on the counter. The dirt didn’t faze her at all.
Teething was no fun. Toilet training is ongoing. She is getting better. Walking didn’t take long. In three weeks, Anna went from pulling herself up using a chair, the window ledge or whatever else was handy to racing across the room. Speech is taking longer. It is sometimes a curious process.
I got a call from Jon a while ago. “I didn’t come on the anniversary, cause I didn’t want to make it a ritual or anything, but the senator will be in town next week and I thought I might drop by,” he said.
There was something about the way he said it that put me off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it and I didn’t react to it. “Well good. I’ll be here.”
“See you then.” He rang off immediately.
Later next week when I got within sight of home, I saw a scooter parked in the lane and guessed it must be Jon’s. It seemed like a long time since I had seem him.
“Jon, are you here?” I called from the back door.
“Here,” Jon answered.
I rushed into the darkened front room just as he was standing up. “Good to see you. How are you doing? How long can you stay?” I gave him a big hug.
Edie sat back smiling at my enthusiasm.
“Not long. Okay. How about you?”
“I’m great. Busy as all get out, but good. Can you stay for supper?”
“What are you doing sitting in the dark anyway?”
“Enjoying the coolness,” said Edie.
“Yeah it is a bit warm.”
“How did you know I was here?”
“I saw the scooter and figured it had to be you.”
“What would you like for supper? Chinese or burgers? We have the makings for both.”
Jon looked at Edie and asked, “Which does he do better?”
“Okay, but you have to cut vegetables for me. And first I’m going to have a quick shower.”
“Okay. Go, go,” laughed Edie.
I went. It wasn’t so much that I was unclean as I wanted to cool off. I came upstairs shortly after Anna had awakened from her afternoon nap. She ran into the front room and didn’t see me.
“Loo!” I heard her shriek and run across the room. When I stepped around the corner, Anna had her arms wrapped around Jon’s leg.
Jon was staring down awkwardly.
“No honey, that’s Uncle Jon,” said Edie. “You made a boo-boo.”
She looked up at Jon very seriously and repeated, “Boo-boo?”
“That is Uncle Luc over there.”
Anna looked at me across the room and suddenly became very still. She looked up at Jon again and looked back at me. Then she let go of Jon and stepped away.
“Come here, fleuri-belle.” I held my arms open and she moved toward me slowly.
I swept her up, sat her on the crook of my arm and took her over to the far wall. I pointed to a picture of Matt, Jon and myself. It was a picture dad had taken when we were about 18.
“See,” I pointed at the picture. “There are three of us. We’re triplets.”
Anna examined the picture very seriously and whispered, “Boo-boo-boo.”
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
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Last modified June 25, 2013