I Don't Know by Jude Prashaw

I Don’t Know

“Hello,” I said, as I entered his hospital room:  his thin lips pressed into a grimace, his head bent toward his blanket   He did not want to play in clay.   He did not look at me, even though last week he had fun making a small, bug-eyed sculpture.

“He’s not a happy camper today,” his mom said.

“I’ll make something,"  I told him, “but I may need your help to hold some clay.”

Soon, he was the director, telling me exactly where to push the plastic dowels into the clay;

 A strange creature formed beneath our hands.

“What is this strange looking thing?,”  I asked.

“An Alien,” he said.  

“What is his name?,” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he told me.

“What a great name,” I said.  When “I Don’t Know” started whispering in my ear, talking to the boy through me,  the boy in the bed laughed.  His eyes smiled beneath his long eyelashes.  He rolled a ball of clay in his hand;  “He needs two heads,” he told me “and a hand sticking out his back.  Aliens don’t look like us,” he explained.

Soon, I Don’t Know,  was standing on his four, plastic-dowel legs inside a plastic container:  his spaceship (of course), hovering above the boy while he directed where the spaceship should land.   “Over here,” he commanded, “right into my hand.”

Thirty minutes later,  from a grimace to a laugh, I said goodbye to the boy in the bed. I Don’t Know rested in his hands.  

Healing can knock upon a moment in time.  Laughter can open the door.

Jude Prashaw 

      Journey in Clay



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