Slowly, oh so slowly, he allowed the notion to noodle around in his noggin. Malcolm gasped at the realization. Could it be true?
He rested his head on the pillow, closing his eyes to the world. The cotton sheets, almost threadbare from so many washings, comforted him. The wonderment triggered many reminiscences.
From boyhood, Malcolm held firm to pragmatism, always following his head rather than his heart. Father taught him that stern lesson. Jutting his clean-shaven square jaw forward, Father towered over Malcolm, holding firm in his buff-shined loafers, always with a bright penny just peeking from the aubergine leather.
His passionate mother quietly shared her calculations from the sidelines, whispering sweet nothings that did not add up in Malcolm’s practical world. Equations needed solutions, not queries.
Now everything was topsy-turvy. Malcolm could not draw a deep breath but rather sipped at the air. He recalled his mother’s caresses that soothed him during his childhood asthmatic episodes. Time after time, she would rub his back, the bangles on her wrist chiming their quiet tune. Though a petite woman, she wore the rough-hewn rings of someone twice her size. Those rings would impress on him through his shirt, a tiny lady with only her determination ironing out the breathlessness. That recollection kept him calm through this storm. As the thunder pounded in his brain, Malcolm tried to reason through the quagmire.
He left his warm bed, crossing the cold wood floor to the corner of the room. Seated at his unimposing desk, Malcolm rested his forehead atop his clasped hands. Interlaced, left pinky then right, left ring then right, left middle then right, left pointer then right, and, finally, the pads of the thumbs pressing together. Usually, the thumbs mimicked the meeting of the minds, but not this time.
Why now? People should follow the rules of proper society, not prance around in their underwear, Malcolm recalled Father grousing. His mouse of a mother stuttered rebuttals that went nowhere. Malcolm shook off the creeping negativity that amounted to nothing. There is never an appropriate moment, it turns out.
What a discovery. He lifted his head to stare out at the lush backyard greenery and remained entranced for days. Or perhaps a moment. He fixed his eyes on the seemingly perfectly drawn bunny come to life before him. The rabbit scampered off as did his face in full reflection in the bay window. This episode unwrapped his soul.
Everything composed itself at a slant. Malcolm staggered out of the bedroom to the living room. He gazed at the rainbow on the otherwise blank wall. The morning light kissed the beveled window over his shoulder at just the right angle to make that patch of wall sing. Worthy of a song, his mother would hush before she and the light display vanished. Just a memory, or maybe a daydream.
Was it real? Enveloped in home, Malcolm felt a quivering. Not Father’s hard handshake or mother’s skittish, wispy air kisses. No, he encountered a warm embrace.
Like a dandelion blown by the wind, swarms of possibilities ensued until he landed on one probability. Malcolm had discovered his true love.