Hello, we’re the Fishes. Welcome to our ambivalent home. Ha. One of our little jokes, meant to make you more comfortable. Okay. Let’s start in Michael’s room. This mobile with the origami fishes has hung over Michael’s dresser since before he was born. The big blue fish represents the daddy, Mister Fish. Here’s Missus Fish, the yellow one. Sister Fish. Other Sister Fish. And Michael, currently purple. Right, well, it’s been painted over. He takes it down and adds more colors and ties it back in place, so it hangs lower now. The whole thing’s lost its balance. We tried to fix it once, but that was a mistake, wasn’t it, Michael? No, he’ll be all right. That’s just what he likes to do. He’s nervous that you’re in his room. Want your headphones, Michael? Each dresser drawer contains just one type—please, don’t move that. And the drawings indicate what type of garment—A metaphor for what? Oh, the mobile, of course. You’re still on that? Yes, very apt. Of course you can use that. Why, did you come for metaphor? There are real problems, you know. Government funding for research, ADA compliance issues, what the hell happens when Michael ages out of school . . . . Sorry. It’s been a long morning, a lifetime of long mornings. Write this down. At age two, something kidnapped our son. It dropped a hook into our family and pulled him flapping from the water. We’d suffocate where he is, a place we can’t reach, and he can’t breathe what we breathe any more. You understand? We live in hope of catching glimpses of him, and when they happen, we wish they hadn’t. So now we try to understand the air. So. You can stay? You need to see lunchtime.

Copyright © March 18, 2007 David Hodges

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