Monday, June 08, 2009


Bowling is a game that takes place in frames, added together. When you get a strike you want to capitalize on the next frame. It has that compounding element to it. A strike is the best there is. Total perfection. It is the moment when you realize that all matter is in motion, and every waking second is the messy collision of forces, but in that prolonged moment is the essence of art and sport alike. It is everything or nothing. It is standing or laying down. It is seeing and believing.

There is a party going on in a bowling alley, and there are also onlookers. Present, focussed.

Thirteen individuals are gathered of varying intellectual anomalies. Their conditions are unfortunate for the onlookers, but some of these people scrape realms of perception the onlookers will never visit. Everyone here, in some way, is the way that they will be for the rest of their life.

“Meagan, I think you are nice.” One young man says this in earnest, awkwardly placing his gentle arms around the birthday girl. He walks up and rolls three gutter balls in a row.

One of the other girls is fixated on one of the older male onlookers. “Richard I think you are nice.” She raises one hand for a high-five.

“That’s...nice.” He lands his hand on her innocent palm, watching her blink a couple times, holding her smile and stare. He pushes a smile again, turning from her to roll a strike.

“I see an alien.” Jules stands near the small mount of shoes which await the end of this game. He is a pleasant, even sometimes witty boy. He is, of course, of some type of impairment, but doctors have found it hard to pin down. He is older than the rest of the kids, but still needs to be watched. “Over there.” He points forward, generally. He is totally harmless.

“Ok Jules, come back over here though, OK?” The mother of the birthday girl beckons him back over to the group with a smile. “It’s almost your turn to bowl.”

“But I see it...”

Another strike from the onlookers, who are surprisingly competitive for their sister’s birthday party -- and surprisingly popular.

“I wish I could see aliens.” They laugh, sparking looks from the kids; from the birthday girl.”

“K, can we get serious here for a minute?” Another strike.

Then another, but this time from the birthday girl. “I did it!” Meagan jumps up and down a couple times before running back to her friends. “I did it!” She gets high-fives from her friends. She is popular. She has the symmetry.

“Hey Meagan.” Jules sits down beside her, his large frame juxtaposed with hers. “I saw an alien. This party is fun.”

She nods knowingly. “Jules, I just got a score!”

None of the onlookers know exactly what to say to all of this. They know each other so well compared to the kids, but communication is not always easy, or at all possible.

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