Jacko has a funny habit. If he needs to make a quick visit to a room, say- go in, switch on the light, take what he wants, and switch the light off- he just can’t do it. He has no problem with shutting a light off. He just can’t switch it on. There is no reason behind it. He just can’t. Not that he’s lazy. You can tell him to run fifteen times to a shop and get a new thing every time, and irritate him at that, but he won’t get tired.
And he could switch on lights. But when he was staying for long. Like, if he was going to sit for even ten minutes, he’d happily switch the light on himself. Without any quirks.But if it was for less time, his hand would suddenly repulse from the switchboard, and his smile droop down.
He tried many things. He tried finding his things in the dark, but often came out with the wrong thing, of similar shape/size/feel… and had to run back in so many times, he even tried a flashlight. But he kept dropping it.
He tried asking me to go ahead of him and switch on the light… Like this one time when he came running to get a baseball bat, but stood fidgeting and frowning near the front entrance, waiting for me to get the light. And just as he saw the light shine on the barrister, off he fled up the stairs and threw himself at his bat and was ready to return. In fact, he had come so quick I hadn’t even moved away from the switchboard. As a result, both of us came down the stairs together. It was too much action.
Finally, it was settled, much to the comfort of both of us, that these flying visits would be made solely by me. That is, he would tell me what to bring and I would get it. It wasn’t easy at first. I knew little of the layout of Jacko’s room, despite the amount of time I spent there.
So he’d tell me to get the Checker’s board, and I would take hours to find it, even when all his games I knew were supposed to be on the bottom shelf. Okay, not hours, his room isn’t that big, but that’s what he would groan and say. The price of which was, often, refusal to play anymore. So after I had finally found the board and brought it down, I had to go back up and keep it back. The deal wasn’t very nice any more. It was soon to be changed.
It was Baseball day. Wednesday. All the most serious games of the neighborhood happened on Wednesday. Last Wednesday, Jacko had got a strike three. This Wednesday, he wasn’t playing.
However much his team, or me, persuaded him, he just kept saying no. Why? “I got work to do. I won’t come to play.” was all he kept saying. So they all finally left,and I followed Jacko to his room. Just what work did he have to do, I wanted to see. But Jacko didn’t do anything. He just picked up his book, and sat down reading it.
“Jacko!! Why are you reading?”
“Because I can?” he snorted.
“But why are you reading now?”
He didn’t answer. So I went and checked his calender next to the window. He didn’t have any test coming. Why was he reading then?
“Jacko. Is this the work you said you had to do?”I suddenly asked.
“Yes Jenny. Now are you done being an itch with all your endless questions?”
“I’m just asking because Fat Joe was coming to play at the other side today. You missed on a good game.” I said, very concerned.
Jacko flushed. He turned to his book quickly.
“Hey! What’s wrong!”
I coaxed. I pried. I snatched the book away. I was about to use the blaster ‘Jacko-do-you-know-why-mummy-and-daddy-fight’ emotional blackmail, when finally, finally, Jacko said,
“Oh get off it! I don’t want to play Fat Joe. That’s why I didn’t go, okay!” And he snatched the book back.
Ohhh. Serious thing.
“Why not, Jacko?”
“Jennnnnnyyyy!”He said in an unusually thick tone.
“Yes Jacko?” I honestly didn’t understand.
“Oh God! I’m scared okay! So STOP IT NOW!!!” He burst out, stamped his foot on the bed (which didn’t make much effect) and stomped out of the room.
I was stunned. Jacko was afraid of playing Fat Joe.
It was evening. Daddy would be getting home soon. I was playing with Buzz, in my room.
“Hey Jen?” I turned to see Jacko at the door, hands behind his back.
“Ye-ah?” I said.
“Umm- could we talk for a minute?” He took a step forward.
“Oh sure! Come on in!” I jumped onto my bed, and invited him to join me. He seemed to breathe more.
“Hey, I just wanted to ask you- if, you know, you won’t tell anyone about what I told you today.” He said.
“Uhh okay, but- what did you tell me?”
“You know- about Fat Joe-”
“Oh that. Cool. I’ll say you shut your door and I couldn’t see what work you were doing.”
“Thanks.” Jacko smiled. He got up to leave.
“But I want something in return.” I remembered suddenly.
“We’ll take turns at bringing your stuff down. And when I bring a game down from your room, you will play it.”
“I can’t take turns.”
“Fine, just promise to play.”
And that’s how my problem was solved.