Sunday, the first day of the Seven Days of Timmy’s Snow White
The next day his Mom was worried about Timmy. Maybe that coughing fit wasn’t just because he’d swallowed his spit the wrong way. Timmy wasn’t talking, didn’t say a word. He hugged her a lot. Spent most of his time with picture books. Watched some TV. Sat close to his Dad whenever he could. His Mom asked him several times if anything was wrong but he just shook his head and shrugged. Or smiled a bit. Or just hugged her.
He was wearing one of his Dad’s old spotted faded green T-shirts and it was so big it hung around him like a dress. When he went and dug out an old snow hat, purple with red snow flakes, she’d asked him if he was cold but he shook his head “no” so hard the hat flew off and he had to scramble to get it before plopping it right back on his head again. She frowned and stared at him hard. He’d always hated that hat. And then, his brother started to tease him about it and he didn’t cry or fight back, just smiled kinda foolish-like and tried to give his brother a hug. Which was truly foolish. Almost got spun off his feet for his trouble. Well, she remembered, Timmy took to dressing oddly at times. Sometimes for weeks at a time. But then again, she’d think about how very oddly he was behaving and she’d stare some more. When she found that she couldn’t stop worrying, she took his temperature. She did that three times before bedtime. But it was always normal.
Well he isn’t normal, his Dad said, adding that Timmy was always a good kid and not particularly noisy, but usually talked. A lot. So what had gotten into him, he wondered. Timmy’s brother said it was nice to have it quiet and gave Timmy a dope slap. But Timmy’d just ducked his head, with a cheerful smile. When his Dad tried asking Timmy, he shake his head and go back to playing with his Lego’s blocks or just give him silly-sweet looks. No telling what was going on in that small head. Most odd, he and his wife agreed. Timmy’s brother said he was just glad Timmy’d shut up a little, as he put it. Otherwise, he hadn’t seen anything he’d call “off.” Except when Timmy’d tried to hug him. And Timmy, himself, was just fine when his Dad came up to read to him before his going to sleep. His Dad had gone back to reading him Winnie the Pooh, and as they both liked it very very much and as this was their 3rd time through, conversations or discussions weren’t required. So while there were some laughs and some giggles, there had been no talking. And they didn’t particularly miss it.
Nonetheless, his Dad said to his Mom later that night when they were getting ready for bed, it’s just altogether not like Timmy. No, she had readily agreed, it was not. Then they’d gotten into bed, with his Mom finishing her list-making for tomorrow and his Dad finishing his reading of the chapter he’d started in his mystery book. When afterwards they were both settled down and the light was off and the quilt pulled up, they had turned to look at one another. Each of them was wondering if this might be the beginning of one of Timmy’s Things. Sighing, they exchanged a long meaningful look and then a long meaningful and very nice kiss. Then said their good-nights, and each of them preparing to slide off, gratefully, into the depths of sleep.
But before the slide into sleep, they each were remembering Timmy’s first Thing, now known as the Goat Thing. It had happened after they’d gone to visit a petting farm. Once they were back home, Timmy became a goat. He wouldn’t stand up, but went around on all fours, baaaaing and bucking. He would only eat salad greens and cucumbers and cut up apples and carrot slices off a plate on the floor. He lapped his water from a bowl. And he would only sleep on the floor in nest made of old blankets. He’d explained it all to his brother before starting and his brother hadn’t taken him seriously. But then he’d had to tell his Mom and Dad after Timmy began his Thing. Timmy’d behaved very well. For a goat. But he would not stop. No matter the Time Out’s, the small talks, the big lectures, the pleading, the silent treatment. Nothing kept him from going right back to being a goat. So, finally, they’d simply shrugged and put up with it, since he wasn’t doing any real harm. Just being - odd. It had lasted 3 whole days, if you were counting from when they shrugged and let him be a goat. If you included the first day and a half, before they gave up, it was almost 5 days before he stopped. And when he did, it was done. Over. No discussion. Timmy wouldn’t talk. -- Next, there had been the Shoe Thing. When he’d found a pair of his mother’s high heels in the Good Will bag and tried walking in them. That had resulted in some big and fairly bad bruises and lasted only 2 days. -- The longest Thing so far was the PJ Thing. Where he wouldn’t get out of his PJ’s, not once, not at all. And it had lasted a whole week. He’d worn only his PJs, and the same pair, every day. He was in them, all the time, for the entire week. Whether he and his Mom were going to the store or to his brother’s school. When he went with his Dad to the post office. Even when his Mom finally took him to the doctor, who had just laughed and pulled Timmy’s ear before mussing his hair while shrugging and saying, “Boys!” And the thing about Timmy’s Things? There would never be a word said by Timmy about any of them. Including replying or responding or even seeming to hear any mention made by any one else. After a Thing ended, it was never acknowledged by Timmy. Never. Ever. Not once. Been that way with eacb of them. When a Thing was over, it was over. Timmy had nothing to add. Everyone had to be satisfied with what they’d witnessed or heard about from his family. And everyone, including his family, always ended up shaking their heads and shrugging. His family had to wait for whatever the Thing was to end. Then they all waited and wondered about what the next might be.
Well, his Mom and Dad had said to each other that night, we’ll just have to wait and see how he is in the morning. Maybe, his Mom said as she was turning off the light, he’s going into one of his Things. And his Dad had sighed. Then, after he was done pulling up the quilt, his Dad had said, Yes, most probably. It was going to be a Timmy Thing. And his Mom had sighed. Then she’d mumbled yes, she agreed, he muttered, so did he. And they both had taken refuge in a long slide into a deep sleep.