I’ve seen the movie Those People on Netflix twice this week and I reference it here. Give it a watch.
I decide not to go school with Oliver and Graham, but I stay home while Matthew and Annie leave for their jobs in the morning after the boys. I think to myself while the house is empty. But I soon realize that there is nothing for me to think about with no one around. I sit and I take in my surroundings, making a record of the house in which I now lived. I turn the television on again, but this time, I stay away from the films of the night before. I press the oddly shaped, rubber buttons on the remote control until I finally stop on a film with two men. They sit on the floor and sing quickly and forcefully at each other. I listen to the lyrics of the song and identify it as the “Major-General’s Song” from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, The Pirates of Penzance. I watch the entire film as love develops between two friends and they drift apart, but I notice that both men have a precise standard of physical looks and I wonder, do the looks of a person determine the attraction? Once the film is over, I stand from the couch and I walk from the living room.
I look out the windows and see that precipitation has begun. Snow. It is snowing outside. I decide to go out and explore the Davis’s yard and see the winter for myself, more than I did when I rode home with them.
Outside, the temperature is twenty-eight degrees and standing water has frozen. The Davises have many trees in the yard, ranging from the coniferous blue spruce pine trees to deciduous maples trees that have lost all but a few of their leaves. I walk around these trees and see the needles have fallen to the ground and mixed with the white snow, creating dark lines in the untouched mounds. I found myself pressing my feet into the snow, digging my toes under the surface. The shoes were wet. Snow had the strangest texture of anything I’d ever felt so far.
“What are you doing outside?”
I turn slowly, trying to feel how the snow reacts, to see Graham standing in the driveway. His hands are in the pockets of a form-fitting coat and he has a red scarf wrapped around his neck. The tip of his nose is pink and his shaggy hair is windblown.
“What are you doing outside?” he asks again.
“I like the snow. Are you finished with school?” I ask him.
Graham shrugs and adjusts his scarf. “I didn’t feel like finishing today, so I came home. It’s not like I’m missing much. Mom and Dad will understand. At least I hope they will. I could get grounded.”
I run a search on what that could mean. “You’re afraid of being punished?”
Graham wraps his arm around mine and walks to the door with me. “Not afraid really, it just makes my weekends boring. I can’t go out with friends or to dates, but I have to have some of those first.” He laughs at what he says and holds the door for me. “You watch anymore porn today?”
“I don’t understand what that is. I did watch a movie though. These friends fall in love, but there was also brief nudity and much sadness. If I were human, I probably would have… cried?”
“People usually cry at sad movies, yes.” Graham raises an eyebrow and he shrugs his backpack off on the couch. He hands me the television remote once more and heads upstairs. “I’m gonna be napping,” he says, “you were up very late last night.” He holds up two fingers and ascends. The two fingers are an international sign of peace. Graham does not stir for nearly three hours, but only wakes up after Oliver returns. His parents, my parents, ground him for two weeks; he accepts without trying to defend himself.
Graham goes upstairs after dinner and he sits at his desk with his computer open. He hears me follow. He doesn’t look at me.
“You know, I never understood why they bought you a computer. I mean, I understand that they want you to act and be like a normal teen, but you are literally a computer.”
“I do not know,” I say.
“I’m gonna do some homework,” he says and he slips headphones over his ears. I take this as an invitation to leave.
Oliver’s door is open and he is laying across his bed with an open book.
“What are you reading?” I ask him. He rolls over and he holds his place with a thumb.
“Oh, hey, Aaron. It’s just homework. We’ve been assigned Frankenstein for class.” He smiles at me. “It’s really not like the movie though. But that’s to be expected.” Unlike when we met, Oliver is wearing glasses; probability states that he could wear contact lenses or he could wear them when he reads.
I search for Frankenstein and view several different videos of a man named Boris Karloff in several layers of makeup; he looked like a corpse. The book’s plot was simplified for me and if Oliver didn’t have it for an assignment, I would have analyzed it for him. He slides a piece of blank papers between the pages of his book and he sits up.
“How was your day without everyone?” He asks.
“I went outside and explored the yard. I like snow.”
“Yeah? I do, too. It’s best when it’s really cold out and you can cover yourself in every blanket you can find. It’s like being wrapped up in a burrito,” he breaks and looks at my face, “it’s a metaphor.”
“Are you excited for Christmas?” I ask.
“Very. We’ve got a couple of weeks left. And I don’t know what I’m doing for anyone. I haven’t gotten much time at work.”
I think for a second. “Do I need to give gifts?”
“You don’t need to, Aaron. Mom and Dad would probably that you being here is a gift enough.”
I sit on the bed next to Oliver and he reads from the novel; he changes his voice and reads until he begins to yawn and the clock on his bedside table reads ten thirty-six. He apologizes for letting the time get away from him and he kindly asks me to leave so he can sleep. I return to the room Graham and I share and he is sprawled across his bedspread, asleep with his own copy of Frankenstein open against his chest. I take the book from his hand and mark his place like Oliver had. I take a spare blanket from my bed and cover him with it.
Tonight, I spend the entire night in my bed.