Tag: popcorn

Charlie’s Room: The Apple

One of the apples was different from the other apples in the fruit bowl. Isaac could feel it the moment he stepped into the kitchen. It wasn’t just different in the way that all apples are different from each other.

Some apples have stripes, others spots, others have splotches of color or a subtle variation in hue. The can be all different shades of red or yellow or green, sometimes with little speckles or stripes of brown or white. And then there are all the differences in size and shape and taste.

This apple was different in all of those normal ways. It was splotchy red and yellow, and it was missing its stem. It was largish for an apple, and roundish.

It was also watching him. He couldn’t explain how he knew. He could just feel the weight of the stare when he was looking elsewhere. Of course, when he looked right at the apples, they all seemed completely normal.

He wasn’t sure which apple it was at first. When he walked in, Marianne was next to the fruit bowl, filling a pitcher with water from the faucet. “How was work?” she asked.

“It was fine. Hey, where did you get those apples?”

Charlie looked over from where he was setting the table. “We have more apples? I hadn’t noticed. What kind did you get?”

Marianne turned off the faucet and carried the pitcher to the table. “They had bags of mixed apples at a discount. We eat so many apples that I bought two bags. The apples that didn’t fit in the bowl are still in their bags over there by the fridge.” She gestured towards the fridge with a nod of her head.

Isaac walked over and peered into the half-full bags of apples, but they all looked like completely normal apples. He felt someone watching him again, from the direction of the fruit bowl. He glanced over, and Marianne and Charlie were at the table.

“Can I have an apple?” Charlie placed the last fork on the table and hurried to the fruit bowl. He picked up a large red and yellow apple. It slipped and he just managed to catch it. “Woah. Got it.” He walked towards Marianne.

Isaac was watching Charlie and not the fruit bowl. The apples in the bowl weren’t watching him. That’s when he knew which apple was different. “We’re about to eat dinner,” he said.

“Oh. Right. Maybe after dinner?”

Marianne laughed. “We’ll see.”

But after dinner, Isaac suggested a movie night with popcorn and Charlie forgot about the apple. Isaac did not. Once Marianne and Charlie were watching the movie, Isaac slipped back into the kitchen.

He took the apple out of the fruit bowl and moved the bowl over by the bags of apples. Then he set the apple on the counter by itself. He crouched down so that he was at eye level.

“Hello. I’m not sure if you understand me, but I want you to know that this isn’t really a safe place for you. We eat apples here, and you look like an apple.”

Suddenly two small shiny black eyes were looking back at him. Isaac blinked. He’d suspected this wasn’t a normal apple, but it was still strange to see it looking back at him.

“Is there something I can do to help you return to wherever you came from? Blink once for yes and twice for no.”

The apple blinked twice.

“Okay. Will you be able to leave tonight?”

The apple blinked once.

“Do you need anything?”

The apple blinked twice.

“All right then. I’ll leave you alone. Good luck with your journey home.”

Isaac left the kitchen to watch the movie. They laughed at the funny parts and cheered at the exciting parts and quoted all their favorite lines. When Marianne and Charlie left to get their pajamas on, Isaac took the popcorn bowls back to the kitchen. The apple was gone.

Isaac checked all of the other apples, but none of them watched him or responded when he spoke to him. He decided that meant they were safe to eat. He put them all away and went to read a bedtime story to Charlie.

The next morning, Charlie hurried into the kitchen, his hair still messy from sleep. “Where’s the big yellowy-red apple? I want to eat it with breakfast.”

“It’s gone already,” Isaac said.

“That’s too bad. I guess I’ll eat one of the stripey ones instead.” He did.

Isaac didn’t eat any of the apples. It just seemed wrong somehow.

Charlie’s Room: Visiting Kangaroo

“Guess what?” Charlie said at dinner.

“You lost a tooth?” Isaac guessed.

“Nope.”

“You did well on the math test?” Marianne guessed.

Charlie smiled. “Well, yes. But that’s not what I was thinking about. Guess again.”

“You’re wearing your lucky socks?”

Charlie shook his head at Isaac’s guess. “Nope. Do you give up?”

Isaac and Marianne nodded.

“I get to write an essay about my favorite movie. I need to watch it again for research. I have a list of things to watch for. Can we watch it together after dinner?”

Marianne smiled. “I can, but your dad has some paperwork he was planning to do.”

“If Charlie needs help with his schoolwork…” Isaac began.

“I think we can handle it,” Marianne said. “Let me know if you need any help.”

After dinner, Marianne and Charlie popped some popcorn and took pens and papers and the list to the living room. Isaac put off the paperwork a little bit longer by doing the last of the dishes. But, when he heard the movie start, he knew he couldn’t put it off any longer.

He trudged over to his desk and sat down. It was his least favorite part of the week. But he’d agreed to be in charge of the paperwork when he and Marianne divided up chores as newlyweds. Allergies prevented him from doing yard work, so Marianne really had the harder list of things to do.

He hummed along with the soundtrack of the movie, imagining the scenes as he worked. Slowly he worked through the bills and such for the week. As long as he regularly kept up on it, it really wasn’t so bad. It was just really, really boring.

He checked income versus expenditures and compared it against their budget. Things were going well. He could even add a little extra to savings. Having a little extra in savings always made him nervous. It seemed to attract trouble.

Marianne thought this was a ridiculous idea. She said that trouble would come, no matter what, and weren’t they lucky that they always seemed to have just enough in savings to cover it? Perhaps Charlie’s lucky socks were more powerful than they guessed?

It looked like he was going to finish up in time to catch the ending of the movie. Isaac filed things away with extra focus. He was so intent on his work, that when he heard a knockg on the sliding glass door near his desk, he jumped.

He turned and looked through the door. There was a kangaroo in the backyard. Isaac blinked.

It was still there. Why was there a kangaroo in the backyard? Did it escape a zoo? And why was it knocking on the back door? Was that normal behavior for kangaroos?

Isaac stood up and walked over to the door. He opened it, but not wide enough for the kangaroo to go inside without permission. “Hello. How can I help you?”

“I was passing through, and I wondered if I can graze in your backyard? The trip home is a bit long, and I only brought a tucker bag.”

“What?”

The kangaroo held up his paws. “No worries, I can find somewhere else.”

Isaac shook his head. “No, you are welcome to graze here. I just wasn’t expecting you.”

The kangaroo chuckled. “Too right, I’m not your normal kangaroo.”

Isaac raided the vegetable drawer and fruit bowl. The kangaroo stood by the door, telling him which things he’d prefer. Isaac paused at the cupboard. “Would you like a water bottle? Can you open one?”

“I’ve got teeth, don’t I? Who needs thumbs?”

Isaac added the water bottle to the pile of food. The kangaroo tucked it into his bag. “Why are you traveling so far away from home?” Isaac asked.

“Haven’t you ever had something that you just felt like you needed to do?” the kangaroo asked.

Isaac glanced at the desk. “Well, I do have paperwork that I was just working on. It isn’t pleasant but it needs to be done.”

The kangaroo clucked. “I don’t think it’s the same thing.”

Isaac shrugged. “It’s not an adventure into the unknown in order to find myself or the meaning of life, but it is a way for me to take care of the people and things that are important to me. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it to me.”

The kangaroo nodded slowly. “Maybe you do understand.”

Isaac shrugged. “You don’t always have to leave home to learn the important things. The lessons can find you when you’re ready for them.”

The kangaroo nodded again and turned to leave. With a thump, thump, thump he’d bounded away and was gone. Isaac closed the door.

He finished filing away the last few bills and left out the things he would put in the mail on his way to work. The soundtrack to the dinosaur movie got louder and he could hear roaring. He’d finished working just in time to watch his favorite scene. He smiled, turned out the lights and left the room to join Charlie and Marianne in the living room. He hoped they saved him some popcorn.

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