A Small Network of Passages

by jkatejohnston

25 August 2013

Dear Max,

Historical morning. Enzo’s not here. He’s at Isaac’s for his first sleepover. It feels strange but not bad.

The air is cool, a few clouds glowing yellow underneath as the sun comes up. Leaves moving in a breeze. Sunday morning. Quiet.

Last night as we were driving home from the movies (yes the movies, squeal of pleasure) Teresa’s phone got a text from Isaac’s mom. We were all in a flurry to read it and rush over there and pick him up. But it was a picture of Enzo at the roller rink. It was 8:30 and we’d just been gloating about how we were out together after dark, like grownups, having a nightlife. We were almost home. And now it seemed that he was going to be out so much later than we were.


Yesterday Enzo and I made a structure for Duncan out of three large taped-together boxes of varied sizes and an old shirt of mine from the Goodwill bag. Much tape. And even more. “We’re going to make a small network of passages,” he kept saying, “I know we are.” At one point during this project he said, “I have a really, really, really nice idea. But I don’t think it will work.” I still don’t know what the idea was. He was the one who came up with using clothes from the Goodwill bag. “Shirts, pants, pretty much anything will do.” I didn’t get it at first, but it gradually came out that he wanted to use the clothes to make fabric tunnels—a network of them. The sleeves and pant legs were already tubes, so what could be easier? I said that seemed interesting but how to make the tubes stand open?

“Stuff them with a pillow.”

“But then how would Duncan get through?”

“That’s what stumps me.”

At one point he ran and got some rope and wanted to fashion a pulley to haul the entire contraption (with Duncan in it) up to the top bunk of his bunk bed. When this started to seem unrealistic he settled on just tying the rope around Duncan and hoisting him up directly.

So far, Duncan won’t have anything to do with any of this. The rope is still in Enzo’s room. I think I’ll just put that away before he gets home.


Walking barefoot down the hall, schlepping along so that his feet make a slap-slap on the wood floor. “This has been a hum-drum day.”


During a pillow fight. He has just launched every pillow at me and is standing on our bed unarmed while I gloat over my great arsenal of pillows. “And there’s one more you can’t withstand,” and he launches his fifty pound self off the bed at me, and I catch him.

We are still in love.