The Silent Note-Writing Game
I don’t know how we landed on the idea.
Perhaps chaos of the 9 year old variety
inspired me to propose a game in which
we must be silent and can only communicate
through written notes to each other
back and forth on a shared
piece of paper or two. He loved it.
And in the last few days, months after
the first time we played, he’s saying,
Daddy, let’s play the silent note-writing game.
And so, tonight, sitting in a dark room
at his desk under a lamp, we take turns
writing and we have a silent conversation
on the page. There is talk tonight of
how fun this is, and questions about why
sometimes I don’t want to play, an agreement
about how anything, no matter how fun,
sometimes requires the right mood, the right space.
He asks me why I write like I do, all left-handed,
with improper pencil placement, upside-down like,
and I tell him that’s just the way I learned,
despite how my teachers tried to correct me.
We talk about his Skylander characters and
their various powers and skills, how some
of them are mommies or daddies and
sons and daughters. He farts, writes about that,
then erases it. I write about the view of oak trees
out his bedroom window. He turns on his microscope,
finally, and we look at some slides of leaves
and pollen and it’s too fascinating and so we
break the rules for awhile to ooh and aww over
the majestic microscopic, the immense
complexities beyond the power of the naked eye
after the inexplicable joy and intimacy
of speaking without voices. I say,
there’s a poem in here somewhere.