|From the Top of the Stairs (standard:drama, 2361 words)|
|Author: Safiyah||Added: Jun 19 2003||Views/Reads: 1906/1176||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A disabled boy watches his family fall apart.|
From the Top of the Stairs ~:~:~ He painted lines. Just lines. Side-by-side. Parallel. Thin or fat, short or long, but always perfectly straight. Many people analyzed them. Doctors, nurses, behaviorists, therapists. Sometimes, even Caroline, when she visited from Atlanta. The lines would end abruptly about halfway across the page onto open space. There would be an indication of downward motion at the end of the side-by-side lines, perhaps a few wavy marks, or even a bold arrow pointing down. Sometimes there was a splash of color on the straight brown lines and the white open space. The color was always crimson. Bright. Startling. He was twenty-one now. An adult. Nobody knew if he felt like an adult. Nobody knew if he thought like an adult. Nobody knew if he missed his mother. Nobody knew what things filled his mind when he laid down in his room on the fourth floor of Ocean View group home. Nobody but him. Everyday he got up, ate his oatmeal, dressed in his Dockers and his white button down shirt, slipped on his loafers, and painted brown lines on white paper. His onlooker's opinions varied of course, but most agreed that they were interesting. They would clap a friendly hand on his shoulder and talk to him in their very best institution voices. "Marvelous Eddie.” Dr. Santiago might say. “Painting the stairs again I see. Can you paint a picture of Caroline for me tomorrow?" "Eddie? Why don't you paint something besides stairs? Just look at the garden. The flowers are so pretty today." Nurse Lowden might say as she swept by with her med cart. Even Orson, the huge black orderly that worked the fourth floor, gently tried to persuade Eddie to broaden his horizons. "Eddie, my man. I saw Miss Delores looking at you today. Maybe you should paint a nice picture for her. I hear she likes butterflies and dolphins" Then he laughed with his loud booming voice before moving on to the coffee station. Eddie never answered. He kept his head down and looked only at the paper in front of him as his hands maneuvered the brush. Always with short, precise strokes, his body tense and his blue eyes fiercely concentrating. After painting for a long time, his movements became erratic, wild, and undisciplined, but his lines remained straight. High-pitched whimpers would sound from his chest and every five minutes or so, he would shake his head from side to side, rock from front to back, visibly calm himself, and then resume his strokes. Orson came immediately to gently remove the paintbrush from his cramped fingers, and lead Eddie, unresisting, to his room. People often asked Eddie why he painted what he painted. Eddie could not answer them, but if he could, he would tell them he painted what he saw from the top of the stairs at his home in Washington, Georgia. *** He saw many things from the top of the stairs. There was an empty space, virtually hidden from view, between the end of the stair landing and the first bedroom on the right. Eddie's room. He fit in the space perfectly and that was his place. The top of the stairs looked down onto cool, white open space, the parlor, and the front door. It was very nice. Mama met the other children there each day when they came home from school. Eddie could not go to school. He stayed in his place at the top of the stairs and watched her shower them with kisses, and take their lunchboxes as they chattered about their day. He would think about bedtime, when Mama bathed him. He made funny sounds in his throat when she sang to him. She put him in his bed, covered him up, and talked to him. ”Eddie, my little angel. One day you're going to open your mouth and the Click here to read the rest of this story (188 more lines)
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