The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

Book: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rita Leganski
Tags: Fiction, General
on his back, waving his hands in front of his face and noting that he could move his fingers (though he wasn’t at all sure how), when he heard his mother whistling. The sound of it was enough to make him turn his head, flap his arms, stiffen his legs, and spread his toes in sheer and complete delight. Dancy took him from the crib, laid him on the floor, pulled him up to a sitting position, and said, “Oh my goodness! What a big boy you are!”
    And he gave her the brightest smile he could muster in lieu of an audible giggle.
    By the time he was six months old, Bonaventure was holding his head steady when he heard his mother laugh, and it wasn’t long before he could follow the motions of her hand for the itsy-bitsy spider.
    Save his muteness, Bonaventure Arrow was just like any other child: He put everything in his mouth and he drooled when cutting teeth, such babyhood things as that. But he was also purely himself. He developed particular habits as he grew, like taking his right shoe off but leaving the sock alone; he opened wide for oatmeal but didn’t care for spinach; and sooner than most he was dexterous at putting shapes into holes and stacking alphabet blocks one upon the other.
     
    There was, of course, one considerable difference: Bonaventure could hear things from all around the world and from another world as well, but only William knew that. Ghostly William knew a lot of things. He knew guilt was locked up in the Arrow house, and he knew that everyone would remain locked up with it until he met his challenges. It was going to take a long time.
    William didn’t mind.
    He could wait.
    He didn’t much want to leave anyway.

Time Went on with No New Findings
    H OLD on to me,” the couch cushion offered in a jacquard silk voice, while Bonaventure took his first steps.
    “Try to fall on your bottom,” said the floor when he made it to the end of the sofa.
    “Oh, be very careful,” said the dining room chair. “I might tip over and you might too, then we’d both get bumps on our heads!”
    “Take your time, little guy,” said the deep voice he’d been hearing all along, the one that belonged to William.
    Such perceptible counsel came to the curious boy, who was figuring his legs out in those early-walking days of toddlerhood.
    On his first birthday, Dancy strung balloons across the dining room, and though Bonaventure didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, he most definitely could hear blue and green and red and yellow ringing themselves into the monotone of a dreary February day.
    Those color sounds intrigued him and brought with them that anonymous beat he’d heard before, the one that rolled around alongside his own heartbeat every now and again. The beat that meant something was happening.
     
    Every day brought a heightened anticipation to Dancy and Letice, as they waited for Bonaventure to speak. Perhaps he would be one of those children who began talking in lengthy and meaningful sentences to the astonishment of family and friends. They loved him just the way he was; they truly did. Even so, both women had begun to move as if caught in a hesitation waltz, paused and quiet and still, one step suspended before taking another. They were listening for a word, a cry, or a bubbling giggle to come from their dear little boy who, at a year and a half, still hadn’t found his voice.
    Dancy started to take note of the sounds Bonaventure did make: His little hands slapped against the floor when he crawled, and the bells she’d put on his shoes jingled when he kicked his legs while sitting in his high chair. He pounded his toy hammer against wooden pegs and a toy mallet on a one-octave toy xylophone. When he was being silly, he would force air out through his lips to make that raspberry sound that children love. Dancy was greatly encouraged by his silliness because it showed that he was being expressive, even if he didn’t use his voice to do it. Her favorite Bonaventure sound was the smacking

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