And YOU SEE that Patrick never ever will play-draw house or play-draw tree or play-draw ANYTHING at all but stick people. Just STICK PEOPLE. ALL DRAW DAY LONG. Like this:
And I get very fascinated with paTRICK and his TRICK people!
I see that Patrick does not listen to all the kids at the table who say he is stupid and that his stick people are crazy-crack-baby-heads, and that stick people should have arms and necks, for instance, and not just LEGS sprouting right out of HEADS.
I see that Patrick looks pretty content. May be even Happy. He still likes his stick people even if they are stupid. And I decide, NOT to throw a crayon at Patrick like the other boy just did, but instead,
And this next part is not all EXACT word for word, but GIST the important parts.
Amanda: um… Why do the legs come out of the heads?
(I’m not sure if Patrick looks up yet, or just keeps drawing.)
Patrick: Because. That is where their legs ARE.
(And this makes LOTS of sense! So I get very excited, and smile big, and start to squeal and laugh!)
Patrick: (does a little frown)
(Oh-no! He thinks I am laughing AT HIM, I must talk more so he understands I am not! I am laughing at myself and all the other kids and even TEACHERS that have missed this very obvious and excellent point! We all thought PATRICK was the slow-one!!! Oh-my! How funny that WE are SLOW and HE is the GENIUS!!!!)
Amanda: KNOW! KNOW-NO! I SEE it now! I SEE I SEE! I see (gasp for air) why they just have legs and heads! But, what do you DO when they have to pick something UP????
(And I am breathless with anticipation!)
Patrick: How big?
(Patrick is very patient, even though this girl is pretty slow, and he looks right at Amanda now, for SURE in this part)
Patrick: HOW BIG? Like, is it something they can pick up with teeth?
(And I look closer at the picture…)
Amanda: Like that guy! How did he put his hat on????
(Patrick looks at Amanda like she is SLOW, as in, mentally retarded, but does not laugh at her and is STILL kind, just a little shocked)
Patrick: He came with the hat.
Amanda: HE CAME WITH THE HAT!!!! OH!!!!! (Amanda is bouncing in the seat now.) BUT!!! WHAT IF HE WANTS TO TAKE THE HAT OFF!!!
Amanda: WHO CARES WHY? HOW IS HE GOING TO GET THAT HAT OFF????!!!!!!!!!
Patrick (grins) : I guess... I guess he would bounce it off! Or get that other one to take it off with his teeth!
Amanda: OH! But… what if the other one is not tall enough? Or if it is stuck down too-tight on his head and won’t bounce off good?? What if he is all alone? What will he DO????
(And now Patrick stares down at the picture….)And Patrick draws a Miracle.
Patrick: There! Now he will always be ok!
And now, HAT-MAN has FEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But that might have been the wrong word to yell. Because even though you and Patrick are best friends and so happy and laughing so hard, and now Patrick is seeing if he can DRAW without ARMS, because you have pointed out that it is VERY unfair to draw armless stick people, when you yourself have arms AND hands and so Patrick is going NUTS with his teeth and his feet, but his shoes are in the way, which is WHY he had to use ARMS in the first place to DRAW anyway, and you are BOTH trying to find out WHY or WHEN ANYONE ever, ever, actually NEEDS an arm ever, and where is the point at which arms are REAL essential? And WHAT IF one arm? And WHAT IF three? And what if you just roll-play on the ground, and are only a head? Or one eye? Or an eye and a tooth? AND THIS IS TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!
And TOO MUCH FUN!
…is usually when someone feels compelled to stop you.
Which is what happens next.
Because you don’t get why everyone says, “What-if?” is a baby game and SO STUPID and POINTLESS! Because you think it is pretty FUN! And you are so pleased to learn Patrick is secretly a genius undercover. And you just KNOW that Patrick could rival Picasso, or at least Matisse, if he is just allowed to get to his toes NOW!
But he is not allowed.
Because everyone in the classroom is looking your way. And some of them are looking very surprised, because may be they have never even heard Patrick laugh or even talk. And some of them look dumbfounded or may be shocked. And, apparently, you are not learning properly, because it is TIME to BE QUIET and DRAW now!
So you be very quiet, but also tiptoe over to the teacher and try to explain that Patrick is SMART-Patrick, and not slow at all, and is in the wrong class, and needs to be in the smart-gifted-special-class like you get to go to twice a week, because Patrick is the smartest person you have met at this school EVER, or at least so far, and that is including TEACHERS!!! Can you believe it?
But the teacher does NOT believe it. And you have to GO SIT DOWN and BE QUIET NOW!!! And you start to panic, because you don’t want her to be MAD, and you whisper in DESPERATION!!
…but! but there is a REASON for the no-arms!!!
But that is ENOUGH! AMANDA! DO YOU WANT A TIME-OUT????
And when you say yes, please, you would love some time-out to explain, the teacher sighs and says, no, not that kind of time-out, the punishment kind, and you do not really see how TIME-out is a punishment, because Mommy and Daddy have never made you be punished that way, but you remember that time-out is code for when teachers actually mean time-to-sit-in-the-front-and-feel-shame-and-learn-embarrassed because the other kids are allowed to smirk and laugh at you. So you sigh and give up. And you go back and sit down. But you smile at Patrick, and may be wave at him a little. And he may be waves back with his foot, or he could have just been trying to put his feet behind his head. But you two are too BAD still, so you can’t sit at the same table.
And it was ok to talk to Patrick when he was at your table, but you can’t talk to him so much now, and the other kids don’t believe that Patrick is smart, they instead think YOU are NOT SMART and YOU are STUPID too.
And this next part is very, very, bad.
Because you choose WRONG.
At the time, you think there are only 2 choices, and the choices are:
Because you do not SEE the WRONG yet, and that Patrick and Be-Smart IS the same, and that Patrick AND Be-Smart is ONE choice, not 2 opposing ones.
But… you were only 5 that day, and even though you chose wrong and stupid, you were try-do-try-best-do-can-see. And you wanted to be smart so much that you chose it OVER Patrick that day, but may be that does not make you BAD, because you were trying to be good, and did not screw up on purpose. The problem is, you think the adults and the world must be smarter and must know more than you do, and so you LISTEN to them.
But when you ARE be what you have, you ARE being have, and you ARE behaving, but most people use behave to mean “obey ME instead!” and NOT be what you have at all, and so this can be confusing, when you hear “behave!” all the time and you ARE!
I am behave! I behave! (MIS-behave is an intentional-bad, and you are NOT bad by intention.)
But what you see then, is that people either speak wrong or you are broken, and so you try to see and learn how you are wrong and NOT really hearing, “oh-no! Be ME in your stead! instead!” from all the adults around you.
And today you have not forgotten about Snails, but... you are very angry. They won’t get off the sidewalk, no matter how far you put them back in the grass, and you keep stepping on them or running them over with your bike, no matter how much you try not to. And they make a HORRIBLE CRUNCH noise that you HATE. And you HATE that they are making you feel guilty, and it is their own stupid fault you keep killing them. And you HATE snails, you HATE them. And you pick one up and throw it as hard as you can at the wall of your house, and the crunch makes you cry and you feel horrible and you HATE yourself.
But you meet a lizard, and it makes you feel better, because if you are too rough when you catch lizards, you will snap their tails off, and the tails will bleed and wave horribly around in the air, BUT the tails always grow BACK, so you do not have to feel very bad about it. Just a little bad for the sting of pain, but not BAD for KILLING anything. It’s just the same as when you cut off a fingernail, except you don’t bleed then. And there are so many lizards, you can make a new friend each day. Which is a little sad, but when you put lizards in a glass jar, even with grass and bugs and holes punched to breathe, you can’t keep them for more than a day or two, or they WILL die. So, you just catch some each day and sometimes you catch the SAME ones a lot, and that is happy, and then they get used to you, and will sit on your shoulder for short periods of time, because they learn you will chase and catch them if they run, but if they are nice, you feel bad for them and let them get back to playing quicker. And sometimes, in very rare cases, one will let you feed it a bug, and not run when you pet it, and stretch it’s head out to you. And if they bite your ears or your hair you talk soft and tell them it’s ok, because lizard bites don’t hurt anyway, and you want them to like you. But you mostly like the baby lizards or the medium ones which you think are the girls… because the biggest lizards, which you think are the boys, have a red flap of skin that expands when they breathe out, and they also hiss at you, and so you are a little afraid of them. And the good thing about lizards is that they are so fast, they run away from feet and don’t let people step on them. But the bad thing about being friends with the lizards in your yard, is that one time, a lizard you were very good friends with, did NOT run away from you, because he trusted you, and you were BAD and DID step on him, but it was ok, because you prayed VERY HARD to GOD that the lizard would NOT DIE, because God could just not kill him for trusting you, and you told God that you knew Jesus was may be just for man-kind and not for lizard-kind and you did not want to be sacrilegious, but you did not want the lizard to die, and you begged God to just hurt you instead and make the lizard ok and help the lizard to forgive you… and the lizard DID make up with you and DID run off and play in the grass, and you KNEW he was alright, and you were so relieved, because you could have sworn you had crushed his stomach, and he wasn’t breathing right, but may be he was just in shock or something (like mommy said), or may be just God is a big lizard fan and loves them too and made the lizard better (like I say).
And today, in pre-first, you look up.
And Patrick has ARMS on every person in his pictures now. But ALL of them are dead like this:
And you KNOW and you SEE that Patrick is DYING.
And you close your eyes and put your head down.
And you are ashamed. And you may be cry some.
But you do not look up at Patrick anymore.
Because it is easier to hide tears when your head looks down.
And you are MEAN to Patrick after that. Because you think he should see how to hide better so you could still be friends in secret. But Patrick does not pick up on this, and just sees and thinks that you HATE him for REAL. Which is now true. Even though you did not mean to end up at HATE.
And for the next 20 years—you spend a lot of time being very mixed up in life.