He brought her with him to an international conference where he was going to be a keynote speaker for the first time in his professional career. Her hotel room was next to his. The following day, at the end of the afternoon session, he proposed to take her out in the evening for a walk in city, followed by dinner. Back in his room, the executive overlooked closing the door snuggly behind the housekeeper who brought his pressed clothes. A couple of hours later, preparing to get dressed for the event ahead, he was standing, naked, in the middle of the room when the door was pushed open and the private secretary lightly walked in. Embarrassed, he tried to cover the precious parts of his body with his hands and underwear, but shied away as he noticed a flash of irrepressible mischief flickering in her eyes and a hint of a smile adorning her face.
Patty's mother recently left Patty’s father. With Patty, their only child, she moved into a one-bedroom apartment.
"Stop moving. You know I can't sleep when you're tossing around." Virgie snapped.
"Sorry." Patty bit on her lower lip.
Afraid to stir, eleven-year-old Patty lay on her side of the mattress.
She could smell cigarette smoke in the plastered wall. Her eyelids closed –– I miss my daddy.
As if trying to soothe herself, Patty slowly brought up one knee to her chest and then the other. The hum of the overhead fan lulled her to sleep.
She dreamt she was standing. Her mother was sitting on the floor. "Be still damn it! I need to get this hem straight." Gathering the material in her hand, her mother weaved in a straight pin. Not into the cotton — but Patty's leg. Suddenly, Patty was running; then, she was looking at her reflection in a mirror — a distorted face. Through a haze, her father was waving at her.
Patty was sweating. She didn't know if it was the pounding of her heart or the sound of streaming water that woke her. Rolling onto her back, she stared at the ceiling.
"Get me a cup of coffee. I’ve gotta go to work," Virgie called from the bathroom.
"Okay." Patty punched at her mother’s pillow and slid off the bed.
When he was a kid, Jeremy loved to paint by number. He worked hard to match colors and numbers and stay inside the lines. As a result, his paintings looked just like the stylized images on the covers of his paint kits.
One day, Jeremy came home from school upset from a scolding by his teacher. He was a sensitive boy, and the scolding in front of his classmates had brought him to tears.
Jeremy went up to his room and began to paint. His hand was shaking, and he couldn’t stay inside the lines.
When he was finished, he stepped back from his work, a mountain scene, and examined it. It looked unlike anything he had ever painted. Not only were the edges of the colors uneven, some of the colors themselves were clearly wrong. Blue snow on a mountaintop, orange pine trees, green water.
Seeing this, Jeremy became even more upset. He had always been proud to show off his paintings, but he felt like throwing this one away.
Just then, his mother came in. She saw tears.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“I messed it up.”
“Oh, honey,” she said, putting her arms around him. “It’s okay.”
“No, it’s not!” he said, pushing her away. “It’s terrible.”
“Let me see,” she said.
She stepped over to his table and had a look.
“Oh, Jeremy! It’s beautiful. I love what you’ve done here. It’s your best painting yet.”
“How can you say that?” Jeremy whimpered. “Can’t you see where I messed up? It doesn’t look anything like the picture on the box.”
“No, it doesn’t. It’s you. That’s what makes it so beautiful.”
“Really?” Jeremy said, wiping his eyes. “You really like it?”
“I love it,” his mother said. “And I can’t wait to show Dad when he gets home.”
Jeremy’s father liked it too.
“You’re becoming a real artist,” he said.
After that, Jeremy switched from painting by number to painting with watercolors on white sheets of paper. He didn’t sketch anything. He just started painting, either random shapes and colors or certain images in his mind. He liked these paintings, and the act of creating them, so much more.
Seeing the joy this new type of painting brought Jeremy, his mother bought him a framed canvas and an easel. Jeremy stood and painted a hillside covered with flowers of various shapes and colors. He had never seen such a hillside. He’d simply imagined it.
Soon, Jeremy was painting on large sheets of canvas on the floor of his garage. He no longer painted the images in his head, though. Now he tried to express the emotions in his heart.
He dashed red rage this way and blue serenity that way, swept green hope here and grey frustration there and drizzled everything with yellow happiness. Jeremy’s paintings were a montage of the emotions he was feeling in his life.
In time, Jeremy’s paintings sold for thousands at auction. People said his paintings spoke to them.
My wife Jenna was going to leave me soon for another man. He has more money than me. She said that's not the reason, not at all, but she and I both know better.
I cried and begged Jenna not to leave me, that I would try counseling with her if that's what she wanted, but she told me coldly that there's absolutely no chance of us having a reconciliation.
Even worse, my 15-year-old daughter Shelley was actually happy about it. She's been cold to me like her mom, and her eyes danced in greedy anticipation.
I was heartbroken, but I finally just accepted it. However, I did ask them to stay until our annual 4th of July party was over. They reluctantly agreed.
It was a great party. Family, friends, music; I grilled steaks and burgers, and Jenna even made her popular potato salad. We had beer for the adults and sodas for the kids. I asked Shelley if she'd like her first beer; that I thought she was old enough to try it. She was shocked, but she took one willingly. I winked at her, but she just looked at me suspiciously, as did Jenna.
Oh, and the fireworks...can't forget those. I spared no expense and they were fantastic.
And amazingly, I was the life of the party. Everyone loved my jokes and antics. I told them all some of my previously untold and embarrassing stories, like the time I farted super loud while losing my virginity with one of my high school teachers. Her husband was outside and heard my fart. He ran in, saw us, and screamed at us. I ran all the way home naked. They moved not long after that. Everyone laughed their asses off while I told that story. I also twerked to an Ariana Grande song (in spite of everything, Shelley still insisted on picking most of the party music). People were laughing so hard, some of them almost choked. Jenna and Shelley blushed, shook their heads, and covered their faces, but I saw their grins breaking through.
My friend Tim said, "Goddamn, Bill! I don't know what's gotten into you, but you oughta do it more! You're funny as shit tonight!"
I modestly said, "I know it."
Jenna and Shelley stayed close together throughout the evening. At one point, I saw them exchange a look that could have meant, Are we doing the wrong thing? Well, if it was, it was too late for that.
It was nearing the end of the party, and it was time for the big finale. I didn't wanna make a big production of it, I was just gonna do it. While everyone was eating cake and ice cream, I put a lit fireworks mortar on my head and said loudly to Jenna and Shelley, "Happy 4th and forever to my two special girls!"
Last thing I heard was people screaming "No!" I think Shelley even screamed "Daddy!", something she hadn't called me in years.
Phillip sat at his desk. He’d just completed an inventory of the day, what he’d accomplished and what remained to be done. It hadn’t been a long list, but each item had taken a significant amount of time. He was glad the done portion was complete and that there weren’t too many items remaining to do. Now he leaned back in his chair and surveyed the room. He liked this room. He felt comfortable in it.
His eyes were tired both from getting up early and the concentrated effort. He considered a lie-down, not so much because of his need for sleep, or even rest, but to ease his eyes.
On second thought, he realized, if he stopped now he probably would never go back to the list, he knew himself well enough to know that he’d simply write the remaining items on tomorrow’s page and he’d find ways to procrastinate through the remainder of the day.
He’d read, watch television (he was a huge watcher as well as reader of mysteries) or simply go back and forth to his desk, checking his email or other follow-ups that he regularly checked, but the To Do list would remain untouched.
Phillip was not a procrastinator, however, in what would normally be considered a negative sense. He always got a lot done, but it was the simple things that always seemed to be put on the back burner in favor of doing something new.
In the end, Phillip decided that if he didn’t finish the list, at least once, he’d never complete it. Only four things, he thought, but each of them involved multiple steps and a variety of other things that he simply didn’t feel like doing so, as much as his mind told him to do them Phillip simply lacked the willpower to force his body to obey his commands and he allowed himself to slip into the miasma of prevarication.
Phillip sat at his desk. He completed another inventory of the list, put it aside and opened his computer to check his email.
The couple waited anxiously in the hospital room. They had never been through this experience before, but something seemed wrong, terribly wrong.
Dr. Daltrey finally came into their room and announced the good news of their baby boy having entered the world. However, there was some news that wasn’t so good. The baby was examined and it was discovered he had deficiencies in two of the sensory inputs.
The doctor said, “This is a serious detriment to your son’s ability to learn. He has no visual or auditory capabilities and his communication skills will be severely limited throughout his life, as he is incapable of speaking. You may want to consider having him institutionalized.”
That information hit the couple, Mr. and Mrs. Townshend, like a ton of bricks.Upon leaving the hospital, Pete and his wife, Susan, decided not to have him institutionalized and they were determined to do everything they could to give their son,Tommy, a full, as possible, life and raise him as best they could.
Years later, one Saturday Pete and Tommy were checking out yard sales together when Pete spotted an old arcade game called a pinball machine sitting under a tree. After a short negotiations with the owner, They loaded it in the back of their truck and off they went. This brought back all kinds of pleasant memories for Pete because he was playing pinball at the local arcade when he first met Susan. Eighteen months later they were married.
Pete was somewhat surprised that the machine actually worked when he plugged it in. He had to do some minor repairs like replace the leveling legs and a couple of light bulbs and lubricate the flippers, but then it was ready.
Pete began honing the skills he had lost due to the hiatus of several years away from the machine.
He spent as much time as he could on it when one evening he noticed Tommy’s interest in it.
“ How could that be?” Pete thought,” Tommy has no visual or auditory sensations that would attract him to it. Perhaps it has something to do with vibrations. “
Whatever it was, it was strong. It was almost like Tommy was becoming addicted to it. In one week ‘s timeTommy was out playing his dad.
Several months later Pete decided to enter Tommy into the national “ Pinball Wizard” Tournament just for fun. He was shocked when Tommy made it to the final playoff with last year’s champion, Keith Moon. It was a huge upset.
A reporter went to Tommy to get a comment. Obviously Tommy had none. The reporter then went to Keith for a statement. Keith was dazed and confused ( Hey, how did Led Zeppelin get in here?).
Keith was so shocked, when he handed the trophy over to Tommy all he could say, with the utmost respect, was, “ That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pin ball.”
The moral of the story : Never underestimate the sensory challenged.