Now is the time of year when Momma is stupid.
Because, you see, Momma doesn’t know that sleeves are supposed to be short.
As it’s grown colder, Momma stopped using the old familiar shirts,and she pulled out these other shirts. Shirts Kiddo#4 had not seen before. Shirts which, when Momma put them on, went all the way down to his wrists.
And there he stood, making pathetic jabbering sounds, plucking helplessly at his sleeves, trying to make them go where sleeves ought to go. Namely, up above his elbow.
Vaguely he remembers something like this happening before, maybe a third of his lifetime ago, back when the ground stopped being white and Momma stopped putting him in those huge wraps every time they went outside. But the memory is fuzzy, because in that dream-like recollection, it seems he was trying to pull down the sleeves, that they were already up above the elbow and instead he was stretching them down toward the wrist, where they belonged. How backward — never mind. The point is, Momma was stupid then and is being stupid now.
And Momma shows him her own sleeves, how they are long, and Kiddo#4 cares not a whit. Let Momma wear the rotten, wrong sleeves. But he, he knows only a very few things about the world, and this knowledge he applies with rigor. He knows where sleeves ought to go, and it is not, not I tell you, down to the wrists.
Nor, he would add, should he wear a thick shirt over his regular shirt when he goes outside.
Nor those new sneakers, shoved onto his feet after the woman in the store full of shoes dared touch his feet and then traumatized him forever by putting his foot into that metal thing with numbers all over it. Oh, how he cried, heartbroken, that someone could do such a thing. Eventually Momma stopped being stupid, and his shoes, his own regular shoes, went back onto his feet. How else would he recognize his feet? For a minute there, they looked like someone else’s.
And now this sleeve thing. He’ll accept that Momma is humoring him by rolling them up. But sometimes they come down again, and he’s once more filled with the certitude that, distressingly, Momma is stupid.