She often did this when she suffered a hangover or had taken too
many pills. He hurried on to his room to write about the creature.
The next morning when he came downstairs his mother was still
lying there. The rag was still on her eyes, though it was dry now. He
drank a cool glass of water and went out to the pool. Hours later
when he came back she was still there, in the same position. He sat
down next to her on the sofa. He took the rag off her eyes and they
looked at each other for a long time before Yak realized that she was
no longer there.
He lived alone in the house after that. Reed Bunting took over his
practical affairs, helping to manage the elements of Yaks life that he
did not understand. In return, he became a babysitter to his
She, wise beyond her years and he, simple despite his, found they
often shared the same thoughts. The Buntings, accustomed to a busy
social life, arranged for him to babysit a few times each week and it
was from those gentle evenings that he drew his most earnest artistic
When she was seven years old, Lily asked Yak what it was he was
always writing about. The world, he said. What world? she asked.
The other one, he told her, You know when you go to bed at night
and you close your eyes and things happen? Amazing things that
make no sense?
Dreams and nightmares, she said.
Yes. Thats the other world. Thats the real world. The one were
in right now is the unreal one.
Youre crazy, she said, and this made him cry.
Its okay, she said, rushing to his side and hugging him. I love
you, Jack. And she ran away to hug her stuffed animals too, worried
that they might be jealous. Then she brought them all over to him
and they all hugged each other.
Love, Yak said enraptured. What a wonderful, wonderful word!
He had used it many times in his writing, but never really understood
what it meant.
Ermita, the Buntings young Filipina maid found them on the
floor in an embrace and she yelled at him, What you doing? Yak put
his arm out to invite Ermita into the hug circle. But she came over
and pulled them apart. This isnt right, she said.
Love Yak said, trying to explain, is good.