FORTY-FIVE - Empaths, Onions and Oddballs

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Something is really wrong with Peterson. His fur has started to come out, and his cheap marbled eyes have frosted over. They look the way my marbles did if I left them in my pocket and they consequently went through the washer and dryer—all white and scratchy. 

Peterson's fur situation and the eyeballs are bad enough, but this morning, while I was eating my cereal in the armchair and listening to my dad gently snore in the hide-a-bed, Peterson fell over. I mean, he just kind of shook a little, and then down he went. It sent the TV remote skittering across the floor, and it woke Dad up.

He asked me what happened, and I told him Peterson had fallen over. Dad heaved himself up, wincing because his cracked ribs are still really sore, and cast a look over the side of the bed at my poor little raccoon buddy who was lying supine on the floor. Dad said that Peterson looked worse than he felt, and I chuckled, but in all seriousness, I am kind of worried.

Ivy thinks that Peterson might be an Empath and, as a result, is absorbing all of Dad's pain and illness into his little stuffed body. She suggested I move him back to my room immediately. So, when I got home from school, that is exactly what I did. I even gave him a bit of a going over with my hairbrush and some dry shampoo that Misty bought especially for my dad in the hospital called "Spring in the Meadow." He ended up looking a little bit better and now smells like vanilla and orange blossoms.

As for the eyeballs, I'm not sure what to do about those, so I just put his aviator shades back on and gave him a little pat on the shoulder and told him to buck up, and that he was just having a bit of a bad turn. Then I swept up the little pile of dusty lack lustre raccoon fur that had accumulated near my father's sick bed.

I didn't tell Dad about Ivy's theory; I just told him I missed having Peterson in the corner of my room and was going to "borrow him back" for a while. He seemed fine with it. In fact, I think he may even be slightly relieved. I'm not sure he finds Peterson's presence particularly calming. 

I decided to dig out mom's stinking onion, because I knew we had it in a box somewhere. I'm not actually referring to the common Allium-family bulbed vegetable, I'm talking about a wooden diffuser that you heat up essential oils in. It just so happens that the one we have looks like an onion, hence the moniker, (invented by Dad, of course).  Anyway, maybe I'll plug it into the socket by my bed and let it do its diffusy thing all night. I think we have some peppermint oil in the bathroom. Ivy says peppermint helps to aid digestion, but you never know, perhaps it helps to prevent hair loss as well. Worth a shot, I say.

So, my father has been fed and tucked in for the night (thanks to Misty), and thankfully his back spasms are now a thing of the past. That means he's able to find his own way to the toilet again. (Thank you, Patron Saint of Number Two!)  But I tell you, I know I'm going to feel super cringey every time I see a plastic Island Grocer shopping bag from this point on.

***

I can't sleep. So instead, I've been sitting in bed, staring out of my skylight, thinking about how strange life is.

It wasn't long ago I was living in the big city of Vancouver, going to a high school with over 1,200 kids, and hanging out in Ryan's giant games room with Jeremy and Brandon, talking B.S., killing zombies and creating futuristic societies on the PS4. I still hear from Ryan from time to time, but it's like Jer and Brandon have vaporized or something. I guess the whole "out of sight; out of mind thing" is...well...really a thing. Whatever. There were always more Ryan's friends than mine, anyway. They didn't even come over to say goodbye the day we moved. Still, even if they had, there is no way in hell I would ever tell them about Peterson, or Ivy's theories, or the fact that I am becoming more and more interested in llama behaviour. They so wouldn't get it.

I never would have thought that I'd come to actually like living here on Garcia Island, but in all honestly, it isn't that bad. Not gonna lie; people are strange, and there's been some not-so-cool things happen, but I feel like I can be myself here more than I ever could back in Vancouver. This place is full of weirdos and freaks, but it's almost like you'll stand out more if you're normal. Garcia Island appears to celebrate its resident oddballs. Who knew?

Anyway, the diffuser has been going all night, and now my room smells like mouthwash. But Peterson looks a lot sturdier on his legs, and on closer inspection, I noticed the shampoo treatment has spruced him up some.

I also just finished reading the first chapter of Rascal, to him. I had to whisper, because I didn't want to wake up dad, but I feel as though Peterson was quite touched by the gesture. I swear his ear twitched a little when I got to the part about Sterling giving Rascal the sweet ear of corn for the first time.

It's kind of nice to revisit this story from my early childhood, even if I am reading it to a creature whose brains have been replaced by sawdust.

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