There’s a kid living on our street who I call Spoons. There’s nothing strange about the way he looks. In every aspect, he looks just like a regular kid. He’s that 10 or 11 year old boy we’ve all met that never managed to fully lose his baby fat. The one with the messy brown hair and the scared round eyes.
We live in what I guess you could call a poor neighborhood. It has all the clarifiers anyway. There’s people living in rooms overtopr people living in rooms down the road, plenty of trash lining the gutters, and plenty of people to encounter awkwardly to remind you of how fortunate you actually are.
Spoons is one of those people. He lives in a suite with his mother and his younger sister. Their place is the top floor of a house right next to mine and their front door is a stone’s throw from my bedroom. In the summer, when being outside is tolerable, there are nights when the mother sits on the stairs and weeps. Or she screams into her cellular phone. When this goes on, I find myself lying awake in my bed and wondering how Spoons is dealing with all of this.
See, Spoons isn’t what you’d call a “normal” kid. He does this thing where he paces up and down the driveway leading to his apartment block with two kitchen spoons clenched in his hands, inches from his face. As he paces, he chaotically smashes the spoons together in an electric frenzy. He does this as he paces up and down, up and down, up and down the driveway. If I’m in the garden or barbecuing outside, I can’t help but become mesmerized by the clattering steel flashing around as it catches the sunlight in this boy’s white-knuckle grip.
I’ve thought about talking to him. I’ve even tried to on a few occasions. But whenever I have, I am always met be his silently horrified face and silence. I’ve thought about talking to his mother too but I honestly don’t know how to start that talk. I don’t think she wants to talk me either; the location of my bedroom window is no secret to her.
It’s easy to attribute Spoons’ pacing as indicative of some kind of mental illness. There are people around that think he might have Autism. But I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t know about this kind of stuff.
Instead, I wonder what it is he sees when he paces. As he stares into the saber battle unfolding inches before his eyes, what is it that he’s looking at? Or what is it that he’s looking for? I guess what I’m wondering is does he, like the rest of us on the street, just see two steel implements slapping together or is there something that we’re not seeing in the manic flashing of dull steel.
I almost feel envious of Spoons. He must be seeing something and I often find myself watching him wishing that I could be let in on the secret. But I don’t think that the secret is for me. And even if it was, I don’t think that I’d be equipped to receive it.