Once They Were Up
Once the sun was up, so were they. They banged on their windows, slammed their blinds into the glass. The younger one always came out of his room first. The older one heard the door slam, heard laughter creep under the doorway of his own room and came out. The two of them ran across the game room, their feet pounding against the floor as if they were giants. They crawled through their vinyl tunnel, stuck their hands through the holes they had torn into it, beckoned one another to come in. They threw the cushions off the couch and made them into islands floating in seas of lava. They challenged one another to stay off the floor, lest they get burned. They jumped onto the couch and jumped off the arms and rolled across the cushions, their arms and legs spinning through the air like tops.
When they heard the door to their parents’ bedroom open, they ran to the top of the stairs and shouted. They wanted shows and milk, applesauce and sticks of cheese, scrambled eggs and pancakes and bacon. They came down the stairs like elephants. They jumped from the landing onto the tile, trying to squash the dog. They called to the dog and offered him bits of their own food and when he came near to them, they chased him around the coffee table yelling his name. The dog hid in their mom’s closet and they followed, trampling her shoes, pulling at the hems of her clothes that hung above them. They twirled in the fabric of her dresses and ran it through their fingers, leaving grease stained fingerprints.
When their mom chased them out of the closet, they ran into the bathroom. They jumped into the tub and poured out the bottle of shampoo and slipped across it in their bare feet like they were ice skating. They got out of the tub and slid across the floor, leaving soapy footprints in their wake. They came back to their show and drank big gulps of milk and demanded more snacks. When the show played its theme song, they yelled the words at one another and jumped on their scooters and bashed the wheels into the floor as hard as they could. They rammed into one another and slammed into the doors.
When their dad gave them pancakes, they begged for syrup, for him to turn the TV towards the table so that they could watch, for him to let them eat their breakfast as they played. He refused, and they sat at the table, legs jumping and arms whirring as they ate. When there was a skunk in the show, they laughed. When there was a pig in the show, they oinked. When there was a duck in the show they quacked as loudly as they could and moved their feet through the air like they were swimming.
When the show ended, they wanted more. They insisted on watching every commercial and told their mom they wanted everything they saw as a Christmas or birthday or Halloween present. They made sure that she was listening by quizzing her afterwards, correcting her if she said cars instead of trucks or green instead of red. When the next show started, they told her to let them watch in silence and threw themselves against the couch cushions, wiping their syrupy fingers on their pants. When they couldn’t control their excitement, they played leap frog across the couch until their mom told them to remember that they were inside. When they demanded to go outside, she told them it was raining. They didn’t believe her, so she told them to check, and from the back doorway they watched the rain splash against the toys that they had left in the grass.