My Seat Rock
Kimberly Gerry Tucker Age 43, Asperger’s Syndrome and Selective Mutism, Seymour, CT
This is my seat rock.” I said to ants who soldiered across my knees. I gave each a flick; aiming for leaf litter and saplings where I knew they’d be okay. (They were resilient creatures with secret societies). But the rock was my real estate. In the castle of the woods, fifth grade was far behind me; with barely a neural pathway reserved to recall erasers, white sweaters with pearlized buttons and laughter like acid rain.
My twelve year old bottom fit inside the natural rock chair, my legs dangling over the rock face; a good ten feet from the forest floor. Above me, I needed only to hoist my self up and I’d be standing atop the big rock where I could stretch out cat-like and peel mica if I chose. Pin-dot red insects mesmerized me as they glided over the rock terrain. The alive speck-dots had adventurous missions to get on with; over the moss stained crannies and sparkly pink quartz deposits.
I adjusted my tailbone into my rock furniture. My legs and arms were limp things separate from me. Maple tree arms swayed overhead. But the wind was invisible; a conductor to lulling leaf choruses, a cracker of dry hollow limbs. Tall trees creaked their limbs together, singing. They leaned to and fro; dancing.
Of course, I could see them ‘playing’ on the cul de sac. Their shouting invaded my music. But I tipped back my head. A granny afghan of ‘trees holding hands’ was my ceiling. Stitches of cloudless blue peeked around silvery bellies of leaves in green of every hue; from pea and celery to emerald. A mosaic of sunlight played kaleidoscopic games. A feeling I couldn’t name rose up, humbling me; almost too much to bear.
I was startled by an inchworm dangling on an almost invisible silk, aiming to make purchase upon my unsuspecting nose. I gently pinched the gossamer lifeline. Leaning foreword, I relocated the wee lime green body to a nearby branch. I wanted to hug it all. My arms raised up,
wincing at the gunshot bursts of laughter, and crack of the bat from ‘the others.’
For a micro-second the off-white planet was impossibly close. Thunk! It smashed the bone below an eye. I couldn’t process what the assault was; even when I saw the dirt- encrusted half-moon seams rebounding off my seat rock. My eyes were full moons. My fingers jabbed the stinging cheekbone for damage.
Then came mounting sounds of invasion. The others were coming! I hoisted up and out of my seat in the boulder’s face- blurs of the others, running the paths, hemming me in. When I hit the earth, my legs crumpled and spilled me three feet down the incline. Richard nearly crashed into me. “It went over here- what the fu- where did you come from?” he said.
I studied the indented place in the crooked pine’s trunk where long ago someone had encircled it with wire. It was now rusted but still clearly visible in places. The resilient tree had grown around it, bulging. Its encroached midsection, like the fat roll on a mid-aged man had been trying to maintain its dignity for all the time since it was crudely defaced. It grew upright proud, though slightly bent, with long graceful pine arms.
Richard pushed past me but my elbow went out and I fell into the crooked pine; and hugged it; thanks for catching me. “Where the frig’s my ball? You better not got it, Mutation,” Richard said to me; adjusting his cap.
With my eyes, I followed the route it must’ve taken; imagined it bumping along my tree-root steps to settle off the path. I noted an off-white contrast of value- change against the siennas of the leaves. I pointed. It was half concealed by moist rotting leaves.
“There it is!” called Jennifer. She was standing on top of my rock! Trodding all over the rarest black mica! I hated
4Continued: My Seat Rock by Kimberly Gerry-Tucker
her denim top trimmed with fluffy pink balls. Her matching denim shorts had more useless balls and put them in a plastic container.
My parents supplied me with all sorts of containers for just such collections. I shrunk into the pine and watched nearly everyone return to the game. Jennifer stayed behind to pick MY mica.
I reached for the squirt bottle that lay bulging in my big pocket. I’d been using it to make my rock change colors. I wanted to nick off the tip of her pert nose with my bottle. Jennifer sprawled out on her belly and commenced to pick long sheets of mica off the rock and put them in her pockets! It was ALL mine to put in my mica vial so I could shake it into sparkling pixie dust. “Hey is anybody in there?” Jennifer said. Waving her fingers in the air broke the dream-state and got me to running.
My mind didn’t differentiate between paths and bushes. It told me to get home via the shortest means. Straight through pricker bushes was that means. Something felt wrong in one of my sneakers. At last; I climbed the chipped concrete steps of my porch with a squishy left foot. I saw Mother’s expression change from one of ‘hello there kid’ to “Jesus H Christ!” I looked down.
A sheet of blood had cascaded down my leg from a five inch gash in my thigh and pooled in my shoe wetly. I was ushered past the rosy-cheeked paper Santa that was too jolly for my mother to take down from the living room wall. Things like that made her happy. Like the red garland still draped over the parakeet cage and the plastic Rudolph on the cellar door. She would probably make me take a bath. I just wanted to be with my pencil shaving collection. My rocks, my erasers...