When my brother Corey was a baby, he’d sit at my grandparent’s kitchen table and smile and coo and wave in the direction of the top of this china cabinet. It was unsettling, initially, watching him babble on to something that appeared imaginary to us. Sometimes he would forget about his invisible friend long enough to turn his attention back to his Gerber spread, only to abruptly look up and wave excitedly minutes later, as though whomever his dining partner was had suddenly yelled, “Yo kid, remember me?”
Corey still always sits facing that cabinet, but when anyone asks him if he still sees his old childhood friend up there, he just laughs that infuriating apathetic teenager laugh and goes back to eating. Like we’re so stupid for asking.
Every time I take Chooch to my grandma’s house, I half expect him to do the same–OK, I pray that he’ll do the same; maybe extend a handful of pretzels up to the kitchen ceiling as a friendly offering to the house ghost. So far, Chooch’s attention has not been grabbed. Clearly I birthed a dud.