Blue blanket, three squishy sensory pillows in green and blue, a toy snowman, the CHARLIE book, green squishy ball, a miniature pair of flip-flops belonging to a stuffed bear, an old pair of my flip-flops, two blue shirts of Jim’s, photo calendar of February, daily picture schedule, 4 smaller fleece blankets in a pile:
To this collection of things on (or nearby) his bed, Charlie added a train schedule tonight—something about the way the one sheet of paper can be folded up, accordion-like, into a neat rectangle, appeals. And then there are the associations of this piece of paper, covered in numbers and a list of places familiar to Charlie from the many train rides we have taken, not to mention the now-familiar sight of Jim standing on a train platform consulting this interesting document, a kind of Map to Trains.
As if casting off on a ship fully loaded with a most precious cargo of so many favorite things, Charlie settled down to sleep tightly wrapped in his blue blanket. His morning had been spotted with anxiety on hearing that his aunt and uncle, owners of the dog Charlie prefers not to see, were visiting. A walk started out cheerfully with Charlie stamping out piles of snow, only to end with him pacing and saying “no” at the far end of the driveway when he detected their car parked in front of the house. Charlie asked for his teachers and I mentioned about him having the next week off, and that my parents are coming on Monday: More cries and worries, me insisting on him coming into the house, cries and worries and Charlie taking off his coat and then putting out his snowboots and standing in the driveway until his aunt and uncle (“good bye!” said Charlie) took Grandma and Grandpa out for lunch.
With so much disruption in the usual, pleasant routine of things, no wonder Charlie has been gathering so many favorite things around him. If I find myself driving to work without my coffee, my bag, and the particular contents of my bag—textbooks, a folder of papers and quizzes, my datebook, wallet, driver’s license, credit cards, library cards, insurance cards, cell phone, pens, iPod, laptop, keys, a photo of Charlie, more—something does not feel quite right. (I have turned around for the cell phone; I have to grin and bear it if I don’t have the coffee.) Not that I need it all, but it feels like I do.
Not that Charlie needs an NJ Transit schedule to navigate through the night. Even when you kind of know where you are going, it is still good to take along a map, just in case you lose your way.