He's always been efficient.
As a person that values time, efficiency is rather high on the "great catch" list for me. Other women go for the "bod", or so I'm told. Sincerely, who can even call it that? It's only one extra letter. Why drop the Y? The Y has already been given quite the task in this world to define itself properly. Is it a vowel? A consonant? Why the need to now make it feel so extraneous that it's unnecessary? I digress. Efficiency is obviously a much more preferable trait. Bodies (damn, the IE has usurped the Y again) will eventually sag and disappoint. Efficiency is eternal, more or less.
Efficiency is also sufficient. I don't need much more. I'm quite capable of managing this life on my own. Imagine my surprise when I found another characteristic that I find appealing.
They say that children are resilient, but what I think they actually mean is that children have fleshy bits and flexible bones. That is to say- they bounce. I've seen children end up in all sorts of positions that would snap an older person in half. Children simply unfold themselves, brush off and keep chasing one another. That's not resilience. That's bounciness- much like a rubber ball. We wouldn't say rubber balls are resilient, now would we?
Resilience is a horse of another color.
Resilience is the ability to maintain the qualities that you desire to preserve, when the rest of the world would have crumbled, melted, and otherwise changed. It's a little like determination, but better.
I have looked into Sherman's blue eyes before, and I thought they were rather cold. Don't misunderstand. I respect the lack of emotion, because emotion is often used to manipulate. Best to just stick to the facts and carry on, I say.
I just never realized that cold stare could hide such a twinkle. Perhaps it was the flecks of green that glinted when the sun hit just right. I had never noticed, but there it was luring me, taunting me to find more treasures that were buried behind those protective walls.
It's admirable that while other children were busy testing their bounciness in their early years, Sherman had the remarkable foresight to build the barricade to protect the treasures worth guarding.
So he built a fortress. A fortress out of everything that he loved.
Of course, you can't build a worthwhile partition out of teddy bears and blankets. Because how can a teddy bear protect someone? It's too soft. A blanket is too warm and cuddly. But if you burn the teddy to ashes, that can make a fine mortar. If you slash your blanket to shreds, strips of cloth can be very useful for fast getaways. Better that way.
Mirrors are no good. They only show you what you're trying to hide. But if you smash them, they will make fine knives to stick into the foundation of your tower. So if people try to get to you, they will cut their hands and realize it's not worth it and leave. Better that way.
Food is better stashed and stored, instead of eaten right away. Yes, the hunger can be uncomfortable but better to let your body realize early that it answers to you - not the other way around. Better that way.
Toys and bikes and noisemakers and trinkets would only end up in the trash. Whether you are a bouncy child or a resilient child, all toys end up in the trash. What is the difference then, if one smashes them all to sharp, jagged pieces early - in order to protect later? They might have thought he was merely destructive but I could see the beauty in the plan.
The resulting tower was impressive, I must say. But one does not build a window into this sort of tower unless there is a reason. There is really no need to discuss that reason, or the mindset, or the emotions that dictated the design. The window speaks for itself.
The day I caught a glimpse of him peering out, I knew I would damn the height and scale the serrated walls in order to smash the window. Not to rescue him, because he was capable of rescuing himself. Merely to give him another option. Imagine my surprise when I didn't have to smash the window. He saw me coming, and helped me in.
I tried to stop him from using his getaway strips to bandage my bloody hands, but I was told he didn't need them anymore. When I thought aloud if I was to be thrown from the window when it was time to leave, I was rewarded with the most beautiful sound ever.
It was the first time I had ever heard Sherman laugh. And then he whispered, "Stay."
So I did.
For Sherman, 22nd of July, 2021.