Eye Contact

“1182015 … 1182015 … ”

He repeated the number, over and over in a monotone voice. She looked curiously over at her son, who was constructing an elaborate tower of Legos.

“1182015 … ”

“Honey, what are you doing?” she asked him, walking over to his spot on the living room floor. She knelt down beside him and bent to look at his face, hoping for eye contact.

“1182015 … ” he repeated, ignoring her.

She sighed and waited. Sometimes she had to wait a while.

“1182015 … ” He hesitated before placing the red block on top of the yellow, then stopped to consider his tower.

She watched him, content in his own world, movies and television shows swirling around in his brain, often coming out in streams of dialogue. Sometimes she could remember where they came from, and she would be rewarded with eye contact and a sudden grin, but it was always so fleeting. In the next moment, he would be back in his own head.

She thought about the time he kept talking about the missing engine.

“The engine is missing,” he had said, “We have to find her.” He had then paused and stared off into space with a concerned look painted on his face before repeating the whole process like one of those memes her nephew had shown her or a recording on a loop, over and over.

“Is something missing?” she had asked him, trying desperately to connect. “Maybe we could make posters.”

He had turned to her with a moment of lucidity. “Make posters,” he had said, brightening. “Yes! Make posters!”

He had then gone on a jag of drawing wild west wanted posters with the face of an engine from the kids’ show Thomas the Tank Engine. They still hung all over the house. She thought there might be a few in his special needs classroom at school as well. For all she knew, in his mind the engine had been found. The poster making sessions had dwindled, then ceased.

“1182015 … ”

Then there were times like now where he would just repeat random numbers. At those times she was at a complete loss.

“What do the numbers mean?” she asked him, patiently. She didn’t expect an answer.

“1182015 … 1182015 … ” He stared at his tower.

She absentmindedly picked up Legos and began to connect them. “1182015,” she said quietly.

He looked at her hands, then back at his tower. He reached for her Legos. She opened her hand as he took the stack, removed the white one from the top and replaced it with yellow, then added it to his tower. For a moment their eyes met, then he turned back to the Legos.

“We’ve got to save the princess from the tower,” he started in his singsong voice.

She smiled, relishing the small moment of connection.

Ninja M. / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Days are Numbered.” What’s the date today? Write it down, remove all dashes and slashes, and write a post that mentions that number.