Number Two is an incoherent one. He talks and talks, but the sense is peculiar to him. He hums his own songs in the sweetest tones. He plays in circles around the spaces we inhabit so solidly in deference to the demands of the day. Sometimes he escapes to the basement and plays in the dark.
One evening I came home from something or other, entering the lowest level through the garage. I shut the door behind me into darkness. I was about to ascend the stairs when I heard the "hi." The voice was pitched and eerie. It came close to the floor behind me. I turned to see Number Two, barely, waiting in a shadow as big as the room. I scooped him up and carried him toward the brightness of the main floor.
"How long was he down there?" I asked The Partner.
"Not long," he shrugged.
I released Number Two to the wooden planks of the dining room, where his feet pushed off in a waddle-run. He shrieked, jazz hands waving in flight. Then he was gone again. We heard toys spring into action on the other side of the house. Wheels in need of lubrication rolled over the carpet. The alphabet emerged muted from plastic casing in need of batteries. The Partner and I stood still. Sometimes it's as if Number Two hogs all mobility.
Other times it's as if we all move around him.