The Second in the Seven Days of Timmy’s Snow White
The next day was Monday. And the race was on. First for the bathroom while Timmy’s Mom got ready for the day, and then his Dad, going in to brush his teeth and then shower and shave. And then his brother would disappear into the bathroom and stay so long his Mom would yell up the stairs at him. After breakfast, his Dad went to work and he and his Mom took his brother to school. All though this, Timmy was like a black cloud. He muttered. He frowned. He kicked at things. For which he got a MOM LOOK, so he quit doing that, but he was gruff and just almost barely not rude. Bad mood. Everyone looked at everyone else but there was no time to discuss it and anyway, Timmy was right there.
He was wearing an old red paint shirt that his mother had found for him at Day Care, which he was to wear whenever using finger paints. She asked him if that’s what he wanted to do - he hadn’t done it in a long time. He’d looked surprised and then almost sorry but immediately gave her a black look of irritation and said if he’d wanted to do that he’d have said so, so why was she asking, did she think he was dumb? This was very un-Timmy like. He was never like that to his Mom. She was so taken aback, she couldn’t think how to respond, but right then it was time to go and drop his brother off. Of course the brothers fought a bit. Like they always did. But then it turned into wrestling, even with their seat belts on, and it got so bad Timmy’s brother’s face was bright red and Timmy’s dead white. So she had to stop the car and separate them. She let Timmy’s brother sit up front because he hadn’t been the one to start it. Timmy stayed, seat-belted, in the back where he made cross comments and growled when asked please to stop. She couldn’t help staring at him in the rear view mirror until he caught her at it and made a terrible face, pulling the sides of his mouth wide apart and sticking his tongue way out and then saying, “I don’t care,” before she could even reprimand him.
So she left him in the back seat. All through her conversation-time with the other mothers. She even stopped Sascha from coming over to the car, saying no, she was not to do that. And she left him there while she went to the bank, and then to the Smart Shop and after that to the grocery and even when she dropped in at the bakery shop, where he was a particular pet and always got something good. For free. And she didn’t even give him a bite of the special cookie she bought. In fact, she didn’t say anything to him at all. While he kept up a running commentary of complaints. Everything from the color of his toothbrush to how slow the ladies in the crosswalk were walking to the kind of cereal he wanted but she wouldn’t get for him. Then it was the man working on the street who was using a jack hammer and how he was making so much noise. Then how he didn’t like her hair do. How his Dad’s mouth fell open when he fell asleep watching TV and then how he snored and drooled.
Everything and anything about which he could complain, he did. She was amazed. She wondered just what this THING could be. And it didn’t stop. There was no let-up. It continued even after they got home. The color of the house, the number of steps up to the porch, the size of the rooms, the stoopid furniture in the stoopid rooms, the fussy way she was always ironing clothes, the silly cartoons she sat him down to watch on the TV. He was just a complete and total pain.
Finally, late in the afternoon, she took him by the arm and marched him upstairs to his room. Where she told him that, if he couldn’t borrow some of the silence he’d made them all live with for the whole long day yesterday - and she had paused to look at him - but he just frowned and shook his head and then opened his mouth - which she gently but very firmly shut for him -- continuing on to say that since that was to be the case, then he was to stay in his room with the door shut for the rest of the day. That he was not to come out except to go to the bathroom. That at dinner time, she would bring up a tray for him and leave it outside his door. That his Dad would not be reading to him that night, so at bedtime he was to brush his teeth and wash his face and hands and then go to bed. And to sleep. And because that was how it was to be, right now she was going to give him a kiss - which she did, surreptitiously checking for a fever as she did - nope, cool as the goat-preferred cucumber - and a hug - which she did, despite his crossed arms and terrible frown - and say good night to him and wish him sweet dreams - which she did. Adding that she hoped his dreams were sweet enough that he’d be turned into his old sweet self the next day.
With that, she turned to leave. He didn’t say a word. He wouldn’t even look her in the eye. He’d closed the door before she could do it herself, almost catching her fingers. Outside, listening, she was sure she could hear him snuffling and making muffled crying sounds just on the other side of the door. She hesitated a long moment, wondering if she should regret her harshness. But then, she thought, he had been a total pain. And he’d do just fine in his room, all by himself, alone, for the night. Safe, and out of everyone else’s hearing!
But that whole evening and into the night, she sighed a lot. And Timmy’s Dad sighed a lot. They missed him at dinner and they missed his just being around. Even Timmy’s brother said he missed the little brat. And nobody corrected him. Timmy lay on his bed, feet on pillow, head where his feet should be, wiggled his toes, tried to feel okay about the day, and thought about what the next day would demand of him. Huge sigh as he thought about how being a'nartist was real hard and rather lonely.