The Seventh in the Seven Days of Timmy’s Snow White
When Timmy woke up, he lay still for a long time. He thought back over the week that was almost over and wondered. He only had today to go and today was going to be easy. At least it would be quiet. And he wouldn’t have to do anything much. In fact, today doing very little would be the whole point. He already had found what he’d wear, so he had everything he needed.
He knew his Dad would be doing some extra “desk work” at his office, his brother would soon be going to a friend’s house for the day, and his Mom was going to have her quilting friends over for TNT. S’posed to be joke. TNT, his dad had told him, was a blow-stuff-up thing. You lit it and it went POW and could make a big hole in the ground. But for his Mom’s friends, it meant they always had tea and toast when they visited with each other. Timmy could spell and read simple words, so he knew tea. He din’t like it, ‘cause it had an “a” which it din’t need and he din’t understand. But words were as bad as people and he could wait to figure them out. Figuring out TNT could wait, too.
Now his mind went back to this being the last day. And about the purple paisley tee shirt that used to be his Mom’s that he was going to wear. She’d know he’d been up in the quilting room again, but after yesterday he figured his Mom was kinda, well, not knowing what he was doing, but guessing he was doing something. He snorted. She and his Dad would call it a Timmy Thing. So would his brother. He wondered what they’d call it. Timmy would call it his Snow White Thing. But they might never figure that out. So he’d just have to wait and see.
Wait and see. Like his Mom said about dessert when he or his brother asked what it was going to be. Wait and see pudding, she’d always say. His Dad said it about things you couldn’t know before they happened. And he couldn’t know what they’d call it. So he’ was going to wait and see. Timmy stretched and felt his bed was the most lish-ush thing in his world. Especially when it felt all warm and pillowy and so com’forble. But it was time to get up. Time to start the last day.
Timmy came downstairs very quietly, not because he was acting, but because he just felt very quiet. The purple paisley shirt was pretty. It hung to just above his feet. He’d pulled it together around his middle with a safety pin so it didn’t drag on the floor. And he’d found an old hat of his Mom’s too. It was that grape-red, like the plums he loved to eat. It had a little brim and a feather. He felt - better than Halloween, when his Mom only let him wear a sheet - or part of one. More like the other bigger, grown up kids he saw, who wore costumes. And maybe that wasn’t x’actly right, but anyway, he liked the way it felt.
He entered the kitchen where his Mom was at the table, drinking her coffee and making a list, and his Dad was reading the paper and drinking his coffee. They both looked up. Timmy was standing there, hands clasped behind him, shoulders slightly raised, trying to keep his eyes upturned, but wanting to see what his parents thought, so ended up in what looked like he was batting his eyelashes. His Dad smiled at him. He’d started to really grin and Timmy knew it had been at how he looked, but he turned it into a smile for Timmy and Timmy knew that, too.
He only said good morning, son, and his Mom had said it too, winking at him when he caught her eye. He climbed up at the table, and helped himself to cinnamon toast after drinking down the pineapple juice his Mom kept, just for him and his brother. Last month it had been grape juice. The month before, apple juice. His Mom said they were rebelling against the orange juice she’d given them all these years. His Dad said it was stuff and nonsense, but grinned when he said it, always ending, like the Doc, saying, ‘boys!‘
When his brother came rushing down, late as usual, only showing up after the second time his Mom had yelled up the stairs to him, he saw Timmy. It stopped him in his tracks. And Timmy was afraid there was going to be a ruckus. When his brother turned to his Mom and started saying that Timmy was wearing her things, it was only because his Mom gently shushed him, talking over him, saying but Bud (that’s what his Mom and his Dad called his brother, instead of Harold, which was his name, ‘cuz his brother hated that grown-up name but he hated Harry worse -- so they agreed on Bud). Bud, she said, it’s Saturday, so don’t you worry. By tomorrow, well, it’ll be Sunday. A whole week will have gone by and things - well, things will be ... Which is when Timmy’s Dad spoke up, every thing will be back to normal.
And then his Dad put his arms around both Timmy and his brother, pulling them close to him and looking at each of them, asking, right? Timmy began to wonder what his Mom and Dad knew, but he just nodded. His brother looked a little confused - well, all right, a LOT confused - but he nodded too. So his Dad let them go, his brother stopped complaining and they all started eating. Fast. Because they all had to leave soon. Get on the stick, is what his Mom called it. Which made Timmy lose his way, sunk back into his imagination again, like every other time he heard it. Wondering how did you got on a stick? But his Mom was still hustling them along, saying they had to leave soon.
And they did, right after their Dad bustled out, calling back his goodbyes and promises to come home as early as he could and that tonight he’d pick up a movie to make up for last night, when nobody’d been in the mood. When he and his Mom took his brother to his friend’s house, Timmy stayed in the car while his Mom went and talked with his brother’s friend’s Mom.
Timmy thought about the fact that he hadn’t talked with Sascha all week long. Mostly because he always stayed in the car. He thought about come Monday, when he could share with her this whole week and what he’d been doing. He thought she’d forgive him and really laugh with him over all his stunts this week. He hoped so. Sascha was his most favorite not-family grown up. And a friend. She’d said so!
Outside of missing her and of knowing it was the last day, the day went okay. All he really had to do was be more quiet than not. And not look up at people, but look up at the ceiling instead. Be extra polite and nice. Which was good, because that was how he mostly felt.
Keeping his hands clasped behind him was the hardest thing. He found out that he was used to using his hands a lot. Moved them around a lot when he talked. He knew now they helped what he wanted to say. They were like more or extra words. Or no, like when his Mom and Dad hummed together. His Mom would do like Timmy’s hands. She would sing a tune that was different but melted right in to what his Dad was singing. Made it, like more -- somehow. That’s what Timmy’s hands did for him. When he talked. But he couldn’t use them, so that was that.
It was easy enough to be quiet, but harder to try and keep his hands clasped behind his back and remember to look up at the ceiling instead of at people. How were you s’posed to do that, he wondered. Without making your shoulders and neck hurt?
The quilt people were nice. He liked them. There was one man. He was a really really good quilter. He did a lot of what his Mom called m’broidery. It was really pretty. He had all kinds of silk thread in all kinds of colors. They were like his brother’s colored pencils. Bright and pretty. The ladies were nice, too. One of them was really old. Another one really fat. Well, no, not fat. Maybe more like double of most people. Warm and cuddly looking. He bet she hugged good. And she was pretty. Her face was real pretty. Some of the other women were gabby. What his Dad called gabby. He called Timmy that too, once in awhile.
Yes, he really liked them all. And he could play in the corner while they met and talked. They were planning their next quilts, showing each other pieces they were working on. Sometimes they’d ask Timmy’s opinion. That was nice, too. Today they din’t. They ended up working together to pick colors for a quilt they planned on making together. He didn’t see how they’d do that. But it wasn’t his problem.
When they left, he helped his Mom clean up, carrying one tea cup at a time to her in the kitchen. And then the teaspoons. He liked helping. His Mom had tickled him for a minute, but he had frowned hard at her and she had left off, making an “Ohhhhh” face and saying she was sorry. It was a good afternoon.
Supper was simple. Grilled cheese sandwiches and sweet or dill pickles and cold crisp carrot sticks. And big cups of tomato soup, that his Mom does with half milk and half cream so it’s think and luscious. With s’mores done over the gas flame on the stove for dessert. After supper, dishes done, they all settled down on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn to watch the movie. Timmy was so excited he bounced on the couch and almost spilled the popcorn. That’s when his Dad took the plum-colored hat with the feather off Timmy’s head and his Mom undid the safety pin from his shirt.
When his dad started the movie, it was Finding Nemo, and Timmy was gone. Right into the movie. Right into the ocean. Only re-surfacing at the end. He loved the movie, he was happy and all. But boy. He was way tired. He wanted nothing more than to be just himself. Timmy. He couldn’t wait for bedtime. Trying to remember his hands behind his back and his shoulders up and his eyes looking at the ceiling? Boy, he couldn’t wait for bed.
When he’d gotten washed up and his teeth were brushed, his Dad had come upstairs to say good night. They didn’t read on Friday nights, ‘cuz of the movie. His Dad bent over to give him a smack on the cheek and a kiss on his forehead. He wished Timmy a very good night. Said he guessed Timmy had put in a work-week just like he’d done, and would be just as glad as he was that the weekend had started. Timmy didn’t answer really, just snuggled down and said ‘g’night, but he was giggling and his Dad could tell, he knew.
A bit later, he felt his Mom’s kiss on the top of his head, felt her pull the covers straight and heard her crack the window so that the breezes could come in. Timmy loved the wind in all its forms. Nothing better, to him, than breezes. But after she left and after the house had quieted to just those mysterious pops and pings of an older house settling itself for the night, Timmy turned on the little lamp next to his bed. He climbed out to get on top of his covers and resume his most favorite position.
He lay on top of the bed, his feet propped on his pillow, toes wriggling furiously, his head at the other end of the bed, arms behind him, hands cupping his head. He gazed up at the pictures on his wall.
The green with gold-spotted caterpillar was from when he’d found one and put it in a jar to keep but then his Dad had seen it and said, gee, he’d hate to ever’ve been caught and put in a jar. So the next morning, Timmy put the caterpillar back in the rose bushes. And his Dad gave him that picture instead.
Then the camel one, from last Halloween when he had a loose tooth and din’t know a camel from a car-a-mel. But Sascha, his good friend, which is what she said she was, who is the crossing guard at his brother’s school, told him about the difference. And helped with other stuff too. Timmy blushed a bit and blinked a lot and his toes stopped moving for a bit. She’d given him the camel picture. He loved camels, he decided. ‘Cause they are so smart looking, with their long eyelashes and big nose and bulgy eyes.
Finally, he gazed at the picture of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His toes wiggled especially fast and then he tucked them under his pillow and lay very quiet for a long spell, thinking hard about everything he had done. And how he was just going to keep it all a secret. Never tell. Never say ANYthing.
Then he yawned hugely once. And then again. He couldn’t help it. He knew sleep was coming fast. So, pointing a wavering finger at the picture of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he managed to make his one and only announcement about what he’d done and what he’d been. Whispering loudly -- to his room, to his lamp, to the breezes coming in the window, to his bed, his pillow, to all of his stuff including the pictures -- he said: “I was every one of them dwarfs and that is what I done.” His last words on the matter. And with that, he was suddenly sound asleep. Where his Mom found him the next morning, his light still on, his feet still under his pillow, his blankets now pulled around him, sleeping soundly and snoring slightly, mouth ajar.
The Seventh in the Seven Days of Timmy’s Snow White