My grandmother gave me a hat on my birthday. It is a brimmed hat of that long standing style that pervaded fashion until the time of my grandfather. I am grown, now, just grown enough to look back on the days of my own life unable to fathom that quantity of time.
I believe that I can absorb things. I discovered this power when I held a corkscrew tight in my hand and took its owner’s mannerisms. He was latin and now I understand him with greater clarity. My brother does not comprehend this. He finds me alien and mature. He asks me, “How are you inside these concepts I cannot infiltrate?” I shrug. It would only confuse him further to discover my power.
My grandmother lives a busy retirement. She rents out her farmland to our neighbors and takes plane trips to Brazil and to the Holy Land. She holds a fifty year membership to the Bartholomew County Young Ladies Amateur Radio League. Two years ago she met an elderly carpenter with a biplane and they were quickly engaged. He was diagnosed with cancer and they were wed. Within eight weeks he was gone. This was last June.
His family hated the marriage. He had to say in advance that they would get his money. By August his house was sold. I was given fine shoes, belts, and this hat: elegant accessories to last a fashion lifetime.
I can feel my behavior shift as I adjust into the seams and stitches of an older man. I use shoe polish now. I use an iron. I will absorb the essence of these objects, and become like the person who used them before. If I tend to his memory like a sapling, it and I will grow together. My brother laughs and finds this clothing novel. He is older than me, but he is a child. I believe that I too would die a boy, were it not for my power to absorb. It is my only way of growing.
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