I am five years old, and am able to concentrate and hold onto the images around me, seeing even the pixelated static of colors. I know that white is not white and that black is everything mixed together. I know this because I can see the flecks of green, grey, gold, red, and blue dancing into shapes. This is also the age I was when I loved placing my mother’s handmirror under my small nose, and then walk around the house. The ceiling was the floor, the arched passageway into the dining room an obstacle, the pendant light in my bedroom a protruding sculpture to be stepped around and avoided.
When Xander was this age, he followed the geometrical patterns that objects made with his eyes. He told me that he was “tracing” them, and would squint at the invisible line that intersected the floor he sat on with the perimeter of the house. He did this so much, with such an exaggerated movement in his blonde head, I had to provide his Kindergarten teacher an explanation of his odd behavior. I wanted to tell her that he was simply seeing things as they really are, just as I did with my shimmering pixels (if I try not to focus on the details, I still see things in all their colors, in all their microscopic parts). To keep things simple, I explained his actions to her the same way he described them to me: he is tracing shapes with his eyes.
At seven his habit is diminishing, though sometimes I catch him studying a tree closely, or the corners of a tall building while we’re walking downtown. I wonder if, as he follows the patterns, if any of the lines are in color. Maybe electric blue straight across, then a shock of orange rising up in the space between.