This is the forty-ninth weekly very short story in a series of fifty-two. Thank you very much for reading.
Todd’s mother’s diabetes caused her placenta to deteriorate prematurely so Todd was born retarded, but he outgrew it. By age four he was singing. By six he was an international opera star. He didn’t speak till age eight, when he said, “I don’t want to sing opera in public anymore, it’s humiliating.” He was a very fast runner. One fine day two years after his last singing engagement, his mother, Sandy, drove him down to the track at the high school and timed him in the mile—the tenth fastest time in the world for a boy in his age group. But she knew better than to enter him in a worldwide track and field meet, having learned her lesson when she’d cancelled his last singing tour and was slaughtered on the internet, which triggered a year-long drinking binge that led to the loss of her left leg below the knee, what with the diabetes. Plus the stress of having a peculiar child. He continued to speak almost not at all except to himself, in his bedroom, at night, saying things like, “Don’t worry, I am watching over you, and before long I will come to rescue you from this unsatisfactory life.” She puzzled over who in that speech was imaginary, the speaker, the listener, both, or neither, and concluded that it didn’t matter, the meaning was clear. She told him she’d heard him talking in his room and asked what it was all about. He looked at her in silence, a form of contact despite his thoughts and feelings being unknown to her. And not the only form. He smiled at her when she placed before him each meal that she had prepared, and every third night or so until age twelve, he climbed into her bed and clung to her as the survivor of a wrecked cruise ship clings to a passing chunk of wood. Sandy stopped drinking and was fitted for a prosthetic leg that allowed her to go jogging with Todd—she was quite fast too, and still young, and through controlled diet and exercise had eliminated her illness. On the morning of his fourteenth birthday they were out running in a field when there appeared a dark, medium-sized dog. The dog greeted Todd warmly and vice versa. “Hi poochie, hi poochie, hi poochie,” six more words than he’d spoken to her all week. Watching this communion, she failed to notice the arrival of the dark girl who owned the dog. Todd straightened up from petting him and looked at the girl. She looked back. Sandy saw that they had never met before, but, as if along wires between their two pairs of eyes, they agreed that they would know each other. “Let’s go for a run with him,” the girl said, and Sandy’s immobilized feet said that the invitation did not include her. Todd picked up a stick, and with the strength and agility that still surprised her, he threw it far down the field. The dog took off after it at top speed. Todd and the girl went after the dog. The girl and the dog, neither of whose names she knew, were also very fast. The three of them stopped long enough for Todd to wrestle the stick from the dog’s mouth and throw it again. They sling-shotted out after it, and so on. Alone in the field, the mother watched her son and his new companions become smaller and smaller until she could not see them.