I once asked Henry if he ever felt itchy all over, and he looked at me like I might have bed bugs.
“Well, no, I don’t think I ever have felt like that,” he answered in that measured way of talking that he has. As if he must be careful to prevent a bomb from going off because of vibrations.
“Well, I do–quite frequently,” I informed him. “I’m itchy right now. I need to get out of here. This town–these people are making me itch.”
“Perhaps you just need to use more moisturizer,” suggested Henry. Henry is sometimes infuriatingly literal.
“It’s not that kind of itch, you ignorant twit! Gallons of lotion, even the extreme, lanolin-enriched, Shea butter, aloe-infused kind couldn’t help this itch. It’s a “let’s ditch school”– “get out of Dodge”– “If I have to hear one more word she has to say, I’ll explode” kind of itch.”
“Well, I think if you’d just take a deep breath and maybe count to ten, things would look different to you,” offered Henry with his eyes imploring me to be normal.
“Oh, Henry, do you never long for a change?”
“Sure. I like variety. I try to shake things up a little. I vary my diet, and sometimes I take a different route home. You know, just for interest’s sake.”
“Well, I need more than eating beans instead of peas. I want to see lava burning down the side of a volcano. I want to come face to face with a giraffe on the African savannah under a full moon. I want my night dreams to be as uneventful as my life is now, and my daydreams to be overwhelmed with the thunder of real-life adventures.”
Henry looked at me a long time, as if he were getting used to bed bugs, took a deep breath, exhaled slowly and said, “Take off your shoes and get in the car.”
Cheese Doodles and Other Misunderstandings–Made with real cheese that gives a melt-in-your-mouth flavor you can’t resist.