The Lobster

Fiction By Sarah Bethany // 2/18/2013

"Who wants to go to Target? Say 'I do'!"
"Yes, yes, yes... Maybe later!"
"Who wants to go to Target? Say 'I do'!"
"Yes, Paul."
"And Whole Foods."
"Yes, maybe."
"And - and - and - ride-a in a carriage!"
"Yes, Paul."
"Who wants pesto? I do!"
"Yes, we'll get pesto."

"Bye-bye!"
"No, we can share the tabouli... Aw, c'mon!"
He had slid his little white teeth across my silver fork.
"You ate my bite!"
He laughs, spots of light appearing on his face - stuck in his teeth, in his dimple, on the two hills of his cheekbones.
His face is a field, in shades of brown.
I know his smell, better than any of my other brothers': sweet, and the scent of strong hair oil.

"Mints."
His voice, like a river pebble clacking on a rock.
"No, you can't have any more mints."
"...Do you have mints in your purse? You can give him some."
His fingers curl into the pile of powder pills.
"And jew-ry."
"Yes, you love jewelry!"
"...He does?"
"And - and - and a-silver and-a gold."
"Yes, if you ever go to Target, just take him to the jewelry section."
I think, "For Christmas I will get him a chain."
A thin gold expensive one, to dangle in the air.
It will be lodged in the sewer pipes within three days.
But I think, "I still will."

He breaks my thoughts.
"Apples!"
"You want an apple?"
"Spell apple."
"A - p -"
"Ah, ha, ha, ha!"
He folds the flaps of his ears and ducks his head down.
"- p - p - l - e. Apple!"
"Spell ew."
"E - w. Ew."
"Spell ew."
"What's ew?"
"- Spell ew."
"E. W. Ew."
"Ah, ha, ha, ha!"

"After numbing it in the freezer for twenty minutes, insert the blade into the neck."
It cracks the hunchback.
"Slide it down quickly so it dies instantly."
He pulls his fingers softly across the screen to play it again.
"After numbing it in the freezer for twenty minutes, insert the blade into the neck and slide it down quickly so it dies instantly."
"Going and see the lobsters."
"You want to see the lobsters?"
"See the lobsters. At Stop and Shop."
"...He used to call them bugs."
- Looking through the glass of slime, his eyes the color of mottled shells and the slow-moving claws in their massive yellow bands.
"Want to see a real lobster?"
"No lobster!"
"Here, Paul! Come here!"
"No lobster!"
"Come here. Touch it!"
"No lobster!"
But he does.
He sits on the ledge, his thin ankles aligned, whirling the antenna before him, a limb once used to feel a sodden floor. He is looking off, his head curiously tilted, his face seeming contemplative.
He sits. Trigonometry, poetry? Dismembered.
Put a tray underneath to catch the flecks and juices.
What does he understand?
Guts and pruned fingers, inflamed brain and murdered nerves.

"Don't...don't let him touch you."
"Oh, come on, it's fine."
"Yeah, but he's touching him."
"He's handling it. He knows to push his hand away."
"Don't let him touch you."
"Don't bother him with that kind of thing."
"What are you telling me? That we should just let it happen?"
"He's four. He doesn't know about those things. It's instinct, though. Look - he's already pushing his hand away."
"What if he doesn't?"
"Then we watch them. That's our responsibility!"
"Yeah, but what if we're not around?"
"It's instinct. He's fine."
"Don't let him touch you! Listen to me!"
"He's autistic!"
"That's enough, Paul!"
"It's innocent!"
"I'm putting an end to this!"
"He's autistic! Leave him alone!"

We sit in the car, the lusterless fields lapping past.
"Hey, Wog..."
He shakes a purple band.
"I'm so glad you're coming to the barn with me right now. Being with you makes my time better."
The backseat is quiet.
"I know we sometimes talk like you can barely understand us. I'm sorry if it seems like we're...talking down to you. I want to try to change my own self with that. And I need to tell you how I feel about you more. I hope you know how precious you are to me. I don't say it enough. "
I believe his concentration is tangibly soaking the air. Suddenly the moment is significant and I rally the focus of my intention.
"You have such a pure soul... your joy is intense. I always feel love coming from you. You have a heart of gold. You make my life better, and I have always been grateful that you are my brother, and always will be. I love you forever, and we will always look out for you and make sure you are happy."
I stop talking. I wonder what his response will be. I wait for the magic words to drop...for the veil to be torn apart.
A graveyard slides past. It is a pocket in an oak copse. Underneath a fraying hemlock is a crumbling headstone: the ground before it, gently sunken.
I had stretched myself out in that cradle of grass. I had ignored the horse trailers bumping by. I had traced the stumps of cones against the winter sky. I had felt the deepest peace.
He pauses.
"Going and see the Target?"
"Yes, Paul. Maybe after the barn."

Comments

:)

I know that having a child with autism is very, very difficult... and yet I've always seen there to be a sort of beauty in it, like this brought out.
Thank you for this.

Kyleigh | Tue, 02/19/2013

:)

Beautiful story. Written like a poem.

Lucy Anne | Tue, 02/19/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is just so lovely.

This is just so lovely. Beautiful job.

Erin | Wed, 02/20/2013

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

I can only echo the others. "Beautiful!"

I just have to say, you touched my heart. I LOVE spending time with disabled kids; and the times we have are special. Any parent with a autism kid finds it hard, I'm sure, but there is something so special. Thanks for writing this!

Maddi | Wed, 02/20/2013

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Oh wow... that was just...

Oh wow... that was just... beautiful. Wonderfully done. :)

Marlene E. Schuler | Wed, 02/27/2013

Visit yon blob of literary adventureness!
www.charlieandmewrite.blogspot.com

:)

Can I ask whether Martje is still alive? We should probably make a deadline together for our story to come out - deadlines do work...how else does other writers finish a novel in November for NaNoWriMo? -- Megan

Lucy Anne | Mon, 03/11/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes!

Martje is alive and kicking! I am holed up in a cabin in the mountains right now (not joking) working on Part Two. :) I don't know when a next chapter is going to be posted...maybe within the next few weeks??

And yours?? How is your progress?

Thanks for making me feel like my story isn't forgotten <3

Sarah Bethany | Mon, 03/11/2013

Wonderful!

:)

You are in vacation or something? That sounds like a lovely and perfect place to write with plenty of inspiration!!

Mine...well, you see, I HAVE written some stuff since last time, and I just finished reading Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland and now, I am just trying to find time to start writing/outlining! I'm really excited, though I wish I could have said that I am ready to post.... -- Megan

Lucy Anne | Mon, 03/11/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been meaning to let you know -

...that your book cover of Martje is beautiful. Cause Martje is absolutely gorgeous.

Lucy Anne | Mon, 03/11/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

You're my literary angel!

What perfect timing... I went and read an excerpt from "Outlining Your Novel" and was so fired up and inspired, that I decided to dedicate a major chunk of time to outlining Part Two. I have been feeling directionless and frustrated, and reading that has given me new focus and drive. Thank you so much!!!! I think outlining has been the missing piece to my puzzle.

(I love the cover, too!! When I first saw the photo, I gasped and thought, "Yes! That's Martje!")

Sarah Bethany | Wed, 03/13/2013

You're one of the few people

You're one of the few people who've actually checked out what I've recommended!

You must; must buy the Outlining Your Novel! I have and it's been so helpful and inspiring. There's so much more advice beyond that excerpt! Trust me.
I've found that outlining has been my missing puzzle piece, too!

K.M. Weiland is a self-publishing Christian author and she has a wonderful blog . It's THE most best helpful writing blog around, in my opinion.

This is the first of the series that she wrote on her blog for Story Structure. From the start, this is what inspired me to outline. Then after reading her blog for awhile, I decided I could trust Weiland so I got to read her Outlining book. Very, very helpful.

I'm glad I could help! Blessings! -- Megan

Lucy Anne | Wed, 03/13/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm a little late...

in reading this, but it really is good. I didn't understand at first. But then did. Very sweet.
This brought tears to my eyes:
"You have such a pure soul... your joy is intense. I always feel love coming from you. You have a heart of gold. You make my life better, and I have always been grateful that you are my brother, and always will be. I love you forever, and we will always look out for you and make sure you are happy."

Kassady | Fri, 04/19/2013

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

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