KEEP THE SKY CLOSE
Contains spoilers for the episode “Earsy Rider”
The trek home was proving to be a daunting task for Tina and Gene as they tried to keep their youngest sibling in check.
Twice she had attempted to storm back over to where she had lost her ears and scream raw and rudely at the heavens, begging whatever God might exist to bring the upstart bully Logan back to the spot and surrender his prize back to her.
She felt like the heavens were falling.
As they walked up the road, Louise kept her hands firmly pressed down on her head; covering her exposed hair and trying not to look any familiar street dweller with direct eye contact in case they recognized her and became curious as to why she had suddenly parted ways with her ears.
The walk back to her father’s business, and their home, was paved with excruciating detours as she cut in and out of alleyways and behind dumpsters to avoid the other kids coming home from school, especially the ones with the sort of mouths that would let loose all kinds of gossip if they caught sight of her.
“You’re making it feel like Mordor, stop souring my homecoming experience” cried Gene, himself getting perturbed with Louise’s behaviour.
“Gene’s got a point Louise, trying to avert attention is only going to draw people to you” said Tina in agreement.
“If they want to talk shop, I’ll be sure to talk smack when I know who they are” Louise snapped back, “Until then, leave me be, I’ve got a rescue mission to strategize”
“You can’t be comfortable in a position like that, why don’t you sit down and meditate a bit over what you’re going to do” advised Tina.
Louise lifted all but three fingers off her hair before anxiously pinning them back down to her head again. Her anxiety levels were so high she couldn’t contemplate life without something above her ears.
A piece of her was missing. Without it, she couldn’t sooth her soul.
She took in deep breaths, but this only resulted in her holding in her breath in hopes she could pass out rather than live with this kind of pain any longer. Gene and Tina had to help her to her feet several times as she staggered and swayed from side to side, almost spilling over into the road and into the midst of traffic.
“Ok, we’re taking the bus the rest of the way, you sit here and we’ll check for the times they’re usually due” said Tina, resting Louise on a seat.
“Just leave me to drift out with the rest of the tide” said Louise, refusing even to spread her arms over the seat.
As she looked up at the clouds, her wild imagination was strangely passive, as abstract imagery formed in her mind’s eye.
Clouds that would, to her, normally take the shape of a fist hitting a face or pulling the hair out of a wild ogre in Logan’s likeness were instead replaced with tiny pin drops and whirlpools. All this accompanied by strange music.
In the corner of her eye, she spotted the source. It was Rudy, his headphones plugged into his ears, with concert hall music playing at full blast.
Louise was slightly annoyed at the sound levels, but she couldn’t pry a hand off her hair to tap him on the shoulder and plead him to cut out the commotion.
Rudy suddenly glimpsed her next to him, and could read from her face she was troubled.
“Louise, hey, I’m sorry if I was disturbing you” said Rudy as he took his earphones off and switched off his walkman.
“Hey, I’m good buddy, don’t worry” said Louise, trying to make it look as if she was more relaxed.
Rudy was concerned, he could read her expressions and tell that she was far from calm.
“You waiting for something?” he asked
“Yeah, a bus” Louise replied.
“You sound more like you need closure on something” said Rudy.
“Closure? Me? My life’s pretty open-ended at this age” insisted Louise.
“What happened to your ears?” asked Rudy.
“I didn’t feel like wearing them” lied Louise.
“You’re missing them though, I’m guessing you didn’t part with them on purpose” he said.
“Promise you won’t go about telling people about this?” said Louise.
“I’d probably be too busy hyperventilating to utter a word” joked Rudy, in relation to his asthma.
“I wish you wouldn’t joke about that dear, it’s more serious than what’s not on my head” cautioned Louise.
“Hey, laugh in the face of fear is my motto” said Rudy.
“You saying I’m scared now?” joked Louise.
“You sound short of breath” said Rudy
“Yeah, well my recent experience today took the wind out of my sails. Once I calm down, I should be alright. I just can’t get over what happened” Louise confessed.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll find a way to resolve it in your own time, here, let me make time for you now, let me make it a bit better” Rudy said, and placed his hands behind Louise’s head, lifting it ever so slightly and forming two bunny ears with his middle fingers
“Ok, spread those wings” he said.
Louise smiled, and slowly raised her two arms off her head, she relaxed and looked back at the clouds.
“The music you were playing…that was what they call ‘absolute music’ wasn’t it?” she said
“Yeah, it’s some boring arrangement for our music class, I’d rather listen to trash metal” said Rudy.
“No, no, it’s good, it’s always good to have nothing normal going on up here, that was just a nicer kind of abnormal” Louise confessed.
“Is that what you need right now? Because you sound like you want to kick ass, not listening to music that sucks ass” said Rudy.
“The hard knocks can wait ’till tomorrow, you mind walking me home so long as you can keep your own little ‘ears’ waggling behind me until we get there?” she asked, placing a hand tenderly on his own.
“Sure thing” said Rudy.
She got up just as Tina and Gene made their way back and before long Louise was walking home clutching Tina and Gene’s hands with Rudy keeping his fingers above her head as promised.
He’d also, at Louise’s request, given her his MP3 player and headphones.
As she walked back home, her family and best friend beside her, she looked upwards again at the clouds and allowed the abstract to make the most of her abnormal day.
All while her angel kept to his word, keeping the sky close to his hands, and preventing the heavens from coming down.