I discovered this Saturday night, after the boys had finally gone to bed. Larry called to me from the living room. "Come. Sit down. Relax. Talk to me."
We were chatting about something I can't remember--Politics, maybe? The books we were reading? The jaw-dropping hypocrisy of the Christian right (just a guess)--when I heard toenails rapping on glass. I got up to let the dog in and saw, out of the corner of my eye, something dark scoot a few inches across the floor.
It is astounding what the human mind will choose to ignore. In an instant I'd seen something and just as quickly I convinced myself I had not.
It moved again.
My brain then registered that it was Gus's Michael Jackson Afro wig and quickly moved on to the tougher mental calculus of why the Afro was moving. Because my brain is not all that original, it thought what many brains before it have thought, in movies, and on television.
It must have been the wind.
I was actually thinking those very words--It must have been the wind ... or some weird draft from when I let the dog in--when the Afro skittered and jerked across the floor, toward Larry, who was crumpled up in a fit of soundless laughter on the couch.
And then I did what any good mother would do and removed the wire and put the Afro back in Gus's costume box where it belongs hid the Afro in the laundry closet so I could use it to screw with the kids the next day.
They had a friend over on Sunday, and while they were watching a movie, I set the Afro down in a corner of the room. As I pulled the Afro across the floor between them and the television not one of those little slack-jawed TV zombies so much as glanced at it. So I retreated to the bedroom like Wile E. Coyote to hatch another plan. When the boys tired of the movie and went upstairs to play, I set the Afro down at the bottom of the stairs and hid in the kitchen, waiting, and holding the wire.
When I heard footsteps coming down the stairs, I tugged on the wire to make the Afro jump. The footsteps stopped. I pulled the Afro toward me slowly. The kid on the stairs took a tentative step toward it. The Afro stopped.
I pulled the Afro veeeeerrrrryyyyy slowly into the kitchen, and the child on the stairs--who I then realized was not one of mine--FOLLOWED THE AFRO.
May I just say that if I were seven years old and hanging out at a friend's house and I happened upon an Afro moving across the floor of its own accord, I would so not follow it into the kitchen to see what it was up to.
But this boy is special. He is one of our favorite boys who is not our own, really, and I love him even more now that he just looked down at the Afro and then up at me like "Huh. That was weird."
And then I remembered. This is the boy who has a ghost tucking him in at night.
So a living Afro?
That ain't no thing.