Finding a Voice

Finding a Voice by Kim Hood Page B

Book: Finding a Voice by Kim Hood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kim Hood
said that Chris’s eyes would roll back and that he would probably drool excessively or even have some foam at the corners of his mouth. He wasn’t doing this. His arms and legs were moving a normal amount for when he was excited, but it was mostly his head that was moving rhythmically to one side.
    To the right side. To the no side. I suddenly understood that Chris was telling me NO.
    ‘Chris, Chris!’ I tried to get him to pay attention to me and stop banging. ‘I’m listening; you’re saying no! But stop!’
    He did stop.
    ‘Okay, just to be sure. Do you want to use these pictures?’
    ‘Do you know these pictures?’
    ‘Do you hate these pictures?’
    So that was the end of that. Maybe we were going to be stuck with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as our only way to talk. I did wish I knew why Chris was so vehement about not using the pictures. What had happened to make him hate them so much?

    M om had run into her first problem since coming home from the hospital. It was a problem that should have been easy to solve, but of course nothing was ever that easy with my mom. Her newest obsession in her series of children’s book workshops was focused on
Little Women
. She was stuck on how she could get kids interested in it and wanted my help, but I had never read it.
    ‘If you think it won’t work, Mom, don’t include it. You said eight books, eight workshops. Just pick another book,’ I persuaded.
    ‘This is THE most important book of the lot! Your name came from it, Jo. Strong women protagonists in an age where it wasn’t expected. It’s SO important that the workshop must be perfect. There mustn’t be a child who leaves the day without loving this book,’ she insisted, gesturing widely for emphasis.
    I was getting worried. Mom didn’t deal well with dilemmas that could not be solved quickly.
    ‘Okay. I’ll just have to read it and we’ll come up with something amazing when I’m done.’
    ‘You better be fast about it, Jo. You never know when I’ll lose the inspiration to finish this.’
    It was a threat. If I couldn’t help her out of her dilemma, then our easy days together would be over. I read into the night, trying to finish it. It didn’t help that it was the longest book of the bunch.
    I had finally succumbed to sleep, and so the next day the book was not finished. I knew that I had to finish it before the end of the day, or there was a good chance that it would be a very bad evening with Mom.
    I spent the day hiding the novel behind text books, trying to read it as quickly as I could. I had even had to try to sneak in reading with Chris during lunch, apologising and reading some out loud to him in consolation.
    Now it was the last period of the day and I was supporting Chris in art. I was frantic to finish the book, so that I could spend the time on the bus ride home thinking up some brilliant plan to get kids interested in it.
    ‘Sorry, Chris. I really am going to have to read this last chapter while I help you with painting,’ I apologised again, propping the book open with a block of wood I had found. I put it just behind his paper, so that I would be able to help him load his paintbrush and guide his arm as needed, while still sneaking in a quick sentence or two in between.
    I held Chris’s arm over the paint palette, reading as I waited to feel the familiar pull or push of his arm, guiding me tothe colour he wished to use. I was nearly two paragraphs in when I realised that his arm was still.
    I looked up. Chris’s eyes were on the book and his head was gently tapping, ‘Yes.’
    ‘The book?’
    The yes got more emphatic.
    ‘Do you want me to read to you?’
    No. Quick and clear.
    I mulled this over. I was getting better at not trying to guess what Chris meant to say; and to just keep asking questions. I was learning that he almost never made a mistake in answering me, and that he often had very specific things to say, which entailed me asking just

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