Day 4: Mind Reader (Daily Prompt): The Wavee
For today, instead of reporting the usual (of which there was plenty), I thought I’d try a bit of writing (and a bit of drawing, only because I couldn’t find anything that fit). Here’s my response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:
Mind Reader (Daily Prompt): The Wavee
There’s your nod. Fine. Good day, Ms. But why must you … Why must she, that woman in the silver car, wave at us like that every time she passes? Why so eagerly?
I can clearly see that she’s smiling too, every time, her large white teeth gleaming through the windshield. She even toots her little horn on occasion. Not today, but she has before, more than just a few times. What could she possibly see in my customary nod (all she’ll ever get from me) that she finds so apparently delightful, so encouraging? I cannot imagine. Now, I don’t mind a neighborly wave. It’s the eagerness here that I question, and the occasional tooting. Why? What’s it about? Who is it for, really?
I am not an unsociable person, am I, little friend? Why, no — exactly. I am not. We had a rough start, you and I, and because of that, I’d say you know better than anyone now that I am incapable even of true unpleasantness.
The thing is that we — the waver and I — don’t even know each other. We have never spoken — except that one time, years ago. And that was all about Furbies (Furbys?). The dogs’ leashes became entangled when we passed on the sidewalk, and as our two companions slipped into easy “conversation,” I could not think of a thing to say — except “Furby,” in response to the waver’s asking my dog’s name. Not that my reticence mattered one bit, the way the waver went on and on and on after that.
She could not stop talking, do you remember, Furby? A plane could have come in for a landing on the street right next to us, and she wouldn’t have missed a beat. I’m sure of that.
Oh, she had a Furby once! (This is a plush interactive toy, I have since learned.) And now, she was saying, so did all of her children and — big mistake (what was she thinking?) — because …. “Did you ever actually spend time with a Furby?” (Had I ever actually … what?) She was looking me right in the eye then, Furby, and I admit I looked away, down at you dogs, actually, still happily sniffing away at each other.
Before I could answer, the waver went on: “Don’t,” she said emphatically, almost gravely, “if there’s any way at all to avoid Furbies, the toys I mean, do it! Consider yourself warned… .” And then she laughed, so sudden and shrill the sound, it startled us. You might not remember this, friend, but you growled a little growl, which says a lot coming from you. But then you got back to the business of fun, smart boy, because the waver kept on going. Indeed, she did.
“You buy them — and mind you, they’re not cheap — thinking they’re going to keep your kids entertained for hours, but one Furby is even more demanding than three kids put together. I think they’ve done studies. So, my point is: three kids plus three Furbies?! Forget it!” She laughed again, same laugh, but we were prepared this time. Then, though, do you remember this? She held up her hand and waved it almost violently, as if to wave away any plans I might have to run out and purchase three Furbies — of which I still had no real understanding. I think it was I who almost growled this time, Furby — huh, huh.
But … I also remember, just now, how small, delicate, and gentle-looking the hand was. She’d been waving to us already for years, but I’d never been close enough to notice. I felt my face flush and looked toward the dogs, bounding about in their natural spring-time joy, and then toward home, just a few blocks away. We will be there soon, I remember thinking, and the waver took a breath, maybe her first since she started talking. She did continue, once again, but her voice was softer now, her words slower. “”Yeah, forget that,” she repeated. “Just stick with one Furby, your Furby there, and you’ll be fine.” I watched as she repositioned her other hand on the handle of the leash, and smiled down at our dogs.
I almost smiled, Furby, but then she said, almost hysterically: “Especially because some of them turn mean. I know, I know!” — more laughing then — “Sounds crazy, but I’m totally serious. A mean toy!? Kinda defeats the whole purpose, don’t you think? Mostly, though, it’s just the nonstop chatter — gotta be the most annoying toy on earth.” She then proposed that perhaps someone like me would find Furbies even more annoying than she, didn’t she? Someone like me.
Suddenly quiet, she stooped to untangle the leashes and I thought I heard her say something like: “I bet you were some kind of professor. Philosophy? No, economics! History?” I didn’t have a chance to answer before she was on her way again. “Okay, then,” she chirped, “only one Furby for you! Promise me!” I believe I nodded, Furby, which she wouldn’t have seen, so no matter.
As I reached the edge of our yard, mine and Furby’s, I remember turning to see the waver waving — at another silver car, incidentally, containing another waving woman. (Toot!) You might have heard me laugh out loud, Furby.
We’ve had some fun, haven’t we, despite our rough start? My wife, Ellen, she would have loved you straightaway, but I could not. I have always said, and believe still, pets are not appropriate as gifts — especially perhaps from an ex-daughter-in-law, especially perhaps so soon after she became an ex … and under those particular circumstances, especially perhaps within days of Ellen’s last day in this world. Not appropriate! And I would say the same even if you hadn’t come in need of shots, neutering, and all that house-breaking and even if you hadn’t come pre-named by my then 5-year-old grandson, whose own Furby is surely long gone by now. I hope, anyway — huh, huh.
Oh, well, we’ve been through all of this before. And look, here comes the waver again. (Nod.) That was fast — perhaps she forgot something? More batteries for more Furbies? Huh, huh. (Toot!) Errrrrrrgh. (Long, pained sigh.)
But what a day it is, Furby! Spring again, finally, after all we’ve been through and that long winter, too. No more silly sweaters for you, not for a while, anyway. So yes, breathe in that beautiful air. It’s from those big pink blooms there, friend, which come back every year, you may have noticed, and which Ellen planted long ago — long before the waver, long before you, my darling boy … and all the rest of it. That’s what they are about. They are for us.