Mr. Spooky

When we put the “body” and the pajamas on Adam, we chose favorites. The blue! The one with the dogs! However, Adam doesn’t care. It isn’t that he is indifferent so much as all of them are much the same to him. He cries or sleeps in his foam bed. He recognizes our faces and touches. But as far as objects go, outside of the flow of milk, the eyes and glasses that peer down on him, the softness or roughness, dryness or wetness of the textiles he comes into contact with, he has a bond with only one object. One bond that goes beyond the sensual. Once bond that is, perhaps, his first experience of fascination.
This is with Mr. Spooky.
Mr. Spooky is a milky white globe with bluisn circles for its eyes and mouth, and bluish ears. Plug it in and press the top of it and it turns on, emitting a bluish light that changes to green and back. The intensity of the glow changes too. I don’t know who brought us Mr. Spooky, but it has illuminated our darkest nights since the second day in the hospital, and Adam’s second day on earth.
At night, as Adam digests his milk or formula at night and ponders the world, at some point he always begins to stare at Mr. Spooky, wherever we have perched him, wherever he casts his colored light. He may be looking at a blanket, a pillow or a wall, but eventually he will shift and then he will remain rapt in Mr. Spooky’s aura, drinking in Spookylight, in long pulls, just as he sometimes drinks up formula.
I am not sure what Adam sees in Mr. Spooky. But I vaguely recognize the reflex. I’ve been after Mr. Spooky substitutes my whole life – fascinating objects, ideas, scenes, people that are beyond my mere round of comforts and irritations, and that form an attraction that I can only explain through a cracked, obsure poetry. That is because, in the end, these objects are lit still in a pre-verbal night for me, back before the duty to match world to word set me on an endless, exhausting chase. I like to watch Adam staring at Mr. Spooky, it even makes me a little jealous. And it breaks my heart a bit to think of all the Mr. Spookies yet to come for my Adam.


Anonymous said…
Hi Adam!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mr Li.
Roger Gathman said…
Thanks North! and the same to you!
KevSheppard said…
Happy New Year from your nephew Kevin, Roger. It struck me, as i read the Mr. Spooky post,that i have similar recollections . I can recall as a child in elementary school staring raptly at a piece of paper stapled to the wall on some forgotten teacher's bulletin board. As the draft in the room moved the bottom corner of it slowly to and fro, I became convinced that i was the one moving it with some new found ability for telekinesis. I would practice these imagined skills .. Anyway, Mr Sppoky and Adam's attention to it reminded me of millions of small childhood moments of my own, and brought unexpected nostalgia. Hope your well. Miss you.
Roger Gathman said…
Kevin, thanks for the great comment. Antonia and I think of your babies quite often, and how they are going to be Adam's age, making them - cousins? No, I guess Adam is your cousin, and your babies' uh, uncle-cousin. Which seems a little solemn for poor Adam at the moment. Anyway, I hope you are keeping notes. Every day your twins are looking better, and I guess they will be home before the end of the month. What a relief! Perhaps I more than other people - given the almost coincidence of birth dates - can imagine what you all have been going through.
Anyway, I myself had the stare that Adam devotes to Mr. Spooky, and you devoted to that piece of paper, which at some point - around the age of eleven - got transferred to girls.