A Simple Observation

Just as a tulip is revealing to young Rory its upright stance, green stem, and yellow petals, Old Sis claims its color to mean “hopeless love.” The way she makes “hopeless” sound bugs him as much as the sound she makes of “love.” Anyone calling anything hopeless is hopeless anyway. As for love, it comes with its own quandaries.

Though he may have planted the same flower in the backyard two years ago as part of a biology experiment, Rory can bring no such flower to represent anything more than Little Brother’s personality, small and vibrant.

The word tulip, says Old Sis, comes from the Turkish pronunciation of a Persian word meaning “turban.” “For God’s sake,” says Rory. “Why is it always the sounds of things with you? What about the tulip itself? Where does it come from?”

For Rory, whether the tulip is supposed to match the shape of a turban or evoke the prettiness of bunches of bright turbans adorned with parading flowers, the love it means, though somehow meaningful, is neither hopeless nor romantic.


“…sisters in mind, reasons found for motion…”

A mother and father in silhouette reach after a boy in britches, also silhouetted, while a girl with a bow in her hair, a shadow of a daughter once present, walks seemingly unnoticed in the opposite direction. Incidental sounds include the mechanics of a man working rods and levers and, as if plywood ever has a say in anything, a miniature proscenium arch painted mustard yellow. How abruptly the man’s voice re-frames the silence as a feat of speechless ventriloquism. He hopes this makes sense. Does it? If we listen to the shadows while he animates them, he insists, we will hear their voices. We will see and hear his putting on of a sad autobiography in the movements of puppets. What is it though? What is it really? Call it an abandoned coming-of-age story. Call it confessional. Call it what we want. Would we mind if he started over again, now that we understand his vision a little better?