the only way he would hear you if he was reading a book.
You’re Eyes Are GonnaGo Bad, You’re Gonna Go Blind, Turn On the Light,
and when he
nally heard her,well she was right in his face, who could ignore such a thing said right in your face,so when he
nally heard her, he’d say something like
Yellow is the last color yousee before going blind, Borges says so,
or something like
Will you tie ribbons and lizards around my arms and legs, smear my face charcoal, and carry me around likeUrsula when I go blind,
or something like
You smell like roses, I smell roses, are youwearing rose perfume.
Most times she would just turn on the light.
Just like that.
Wouldn’t snicker or call him the colonel or Jason or anything smart like that but just turn on the light.
Although sometimes she would say,
Who’s Borges, Who’sUrsula, Who’s wearing rose perfume, You know I don’t know what you are talking about—your brain’s going soft just like your uncle Marvin.
But apparently shehadn’t started in on him soon enough about turning on the light, cause in the tenth-grade, sure enough, she had to buy him reading glasses.
But even after that she’dstill turn on the light.
Sometimes if she was tired from working all day, fromworking all day on her feet, on her goddamn feet all day long for Chrissakes, andshe came home to
nd him just sitting there, reading, his nose buried in a book or just staring out the window, in other words if she came home and found him justdoing nothing, a half-eaten bologna sandwich and empty soda cans scattered aboutaround his feet, she’d grab his shoulder really hard, dig her
ngers into his shoulderand collarbone, really hard.
She would put her nose right up to his, one time hernose even knocked his glasses off his face, and she’d say really loud,
Were youborn in a barn, Get rid of these cans, You better eat all of that sandwich you hear me, children are starving in Africa, and Pick up your socks for Chrissakes.
Then hewould just look at her, just look at her on those days.
He knew better than to tellher she smelled like roses even though she did, and he knew better than to say Iknow nothing about Africa but I know a whole train load of people just vanished, just vanished, from Macondo, so he would look at her and she would
nally let goof his shoulder.
Then she would turn on the light and leave the room saying,
What did I do to deserve this
, her being a mother and him being her son.
Who couldblame her what with her being the mother of an odd boy like that and there beingan uncle Marvin in the family whose brain had gone soft.
Who could blame herafter working all goddamn day long on her feet and having to come home to him just sitting there, reading, doing nothing but reading, his mind wandering off towho the hell knows where or what, like the time he had asked her if she and hisfather,
rst cousins or something.
That time she said to him,
Before He Got Home 2