SPOTLIGHT: Itty Bitty Wings by David Rawson

The Girl with Two Faces & the Invisible Weather Boy

The Girl with Two Faces first met The Invisible Weather Boy at a neighborhood potluck hosted by Time Out Man when they were both seven.  Both came alone. The Girl with Two Faces lived with her grandmother, The Grandmother Who was There, but she did not want to come. When The Girl with Two Faces told her about the potluck, The Grandmother Who was There said there probably was no potluck, that The Girl with Two Faces had probably made it up.

            “God knows why you would make something like that up,” her grandmother said.

            The Invisible Weather Boy lived with both of his parents, but neither ever left the house. His mom and his dad would sit in the middle of their living room floor, their hands raised and pressed together, staring into each other’s eyes. There were entire days when The Invisible Weather Boy, having left his parents in the morning and coming home after school, was convinced his parents had not moved 1/64th of an inch.

Adults sat on couches with martinis in their hands or stood next to the couches with martinis in their hands.

            “Wall Street,” a sitting adult said to a standing adult.

            “Hm,” the standing adult said, nodding. “Wall Street.”

The Girl with Two Faces and The Invisible Weather Boy, the only children at the potluck, naturally moved toward each other until they both sat, legs straight, their hands on their own knees, back straight, in the same brown recliner.

            After minutes of silence, both picking at runny macaroni salad on Styrofoam plates, she asked him if had spilled his drink.

            The Invisible Weather Boy did not have a drink, and when she asked, he became uncomfortable, putting his head down against his chest. His plate full of macaroni salad slipped off of his knees onto the floor, but fell perfectly so that not a macaroni fell onto the carpet. It sat next to the recliner as if it had purpose.

            “I didn’t mean to offend you,” she said.

            “No, it’s OK,” he said. “That’s me. I’m a little wet right now.”

            “Oh,” she said.

            Without looking up at her, he put out his hand as if to shake hers. “I’m the Invisible Weather Boy,” he said.

            She shook his hand firmly and then put her hand back on her knee.

            After a moment, she said very softly, leaning ever slightly over to him, “Will you do it?”

            “Do what?”

            “Turn invisible.”

            “Oh.”

            “I won’t look if that helps.”

            “Oh, no. I’m sorry. I never inflect enough. The emphasis should be on the weather part, more so than the invisibility. That’s what I was trying to say before. I’m a little wet right now. It’s raining.”

            She looked out the window and said, “It hasn’t rained all day.”

            “Not out there, no. In here.”

            She looked over at him, now truly seeing him for the first time. Water was slowly dripping from his hair down his face on down his nose. The shoulders of his suit jacket were damp, and there was a puddle developing around him on the sofa.

            “Inside you? Are you raining?”

            “No. It’s raining inside this room. I experience weather no one else does. I can see invisible weather. I can see the storm clouds in this room right now.”

            “Oh. Why doesn’t it rain on everybody?” she asked.

            “I ask myself that every day,” he said.

            After a moment in silence, she said, “It’s kind of a misleading name. People are going to think you can become invisible. Or that you are a meteorologist.”

            “Meteorologist is misleading too,” he said. “Because weather men don’t study meteors.”

            “What do you think people who study meteors are called?” she asked.

            “Weather men,” he said. He laughed at his own joke, and she started laughing too.  “What’s your name?”

            “The Girl with Two Faces.”

            For the first time, The Invisible Weather Boy turned and looked at her, truly seeing her clearly for the first time. She had long brown hair that fell straight down one side of her face, as if her hair were a protector, a gloved hand hiding. It covered half of her face, exactly half of her face moving vertically from the top of her head to the bottom of her chin, and even when she moved her head, the hair stayed there perfectly, not moving 1/64th of an inch. She had a very small eye, a small half-nose, and a small half-mouth that did not fill her large round face.

            As The Invisible Weather Boy and The Girl with Two Faces looked at each other, her hair began to move away from the other half of her face, as if of its own volition, unlatching itself like a hand letting go of another.

            The other side of her face was covered in short white hair. A large white ear that had been pressed down against her neck righted itself, standing up as if awakening from a nap. Half of her nose was a soft pink, matching the inside of her white ear, and whiskers bristled out right above her mouth. These features were larger, so much larger than her human features.

            “It’s not always a rabbit,” she said.

            She turned away from him and looked ahead, so that he saw only the face of a young girl. But he could still see her rabbit ear high over her head.

            “Is that whole side of your body a rabbit?” he asked.

            She showed him both of her hands, both normal human-looking hands. “Just the face,” she said.

            After a moment of silence, he smiled and said, “It’s kind of a misleading name. It’s still one face. Just two sides of the same face.”

            She laughed and looked back at him. “Yeah,” she said. “I guess you’re right.”

            “Is your mother a rabbit?”

            “I’ve never known my mother. I live with The Grandmother Who Was There. I’ve never had the courage to ask her. My father is not a rabbit, but he lives far away. I don’t know much about him, but he wears suits in all the pictures. I like to think he’s a lawyer. The Grandmother Who was There has never mentioned my face. Once I made it a puma because she hates pumas. But I don’t think she even noticed. Do your parents rain?”

            He shook his head. “I have this kind of introduction,” he said, “that I do for myself. Before I go into a room. Do you want to hear it?”

            “Yes.”

            He got up from the sofa, moving the macaroni salad plate out of his way with his foot.

            She set hers down on the opposite side of the sofa, as if someone had purposefully set two sides of the sofa, as an accent to the room.

He put his legs far apart and bowed his head, placing his hands against his hips. After a moment, he pointed his left hand up at the sky. Then he quickly lifted up his head, and he was looking right at her. In a loud deep voice, he said, “He experiences weather that no one else can see. On a sunny day, he drips with rain. On rainy days, there might be a drop on him. Some days one can see him rubbing his hands together and a vapor of cold air escaping his lips as others wear culottes. He is The Invisible Weather Boy.”

            The Girl with Two Faces fell back into the sofa laughing and clapping her very human hands together.

            None of the adults looked over or even flinched at the boy shouting or the girl laughing.

            “Now me,” she said. “Please do one for me.”

            He shook his head. “I’ve never done one for another person. I like to do them for myself because it’s like there’s someone above me who knows what I am.”

            “Well, pretend he just noticed me,” she said. “Pretend he opened his eyes a little wider, and he saw me too.”

            He put his head down and put his fists against his waist. Then he put his arm up in the air, pointing.

            But he did not raise his head. He did not raise his head for a very long time.

            “My parents will be looking for me,” he said.

            She picked up her plate with the macaroni salad. “Yes. The Grandmother Who Was There is probably wondering where I am.” She got up, placing her macaroni salad back on the floor without taking a bite. She stood up and walked away, leaving him still pointing at grey clouds only he could see.

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