This is an image post. Inspiration for this sketch came from this image.

Here’s what Valax knows: everything true. Trees, cells, stars, atoms, cancer. The parents keep giving him stories: The Wind in the Willows, Five Children and It, The Wishgiver, Hatchet, but he sells them or gives them away or trades them for real books. He discovers math and devours it, starts with the Elements and sprints straight through to Galois. He falls in love with Galois, wallpapers his room with pictures of the dreamy Frenchman. So young! So brilliant! So dead!

The dad is baffled. “What’s all this about, V? Wouldn’t you… wouldn’t you like, I don’t know, a Pokemon poster or something? Harry… Harry Potter? That’s what kids like, right? Er. Power Rangers?”

Valax snorts, doesn’t even take his eyes off his book. He’s reading about spiders now. Orb spiders, wolf spiders, funnel spiders… The dad hems and haws a little bit more and then drifts away awkwardly.

The mother takes him for a ride and tries to wait him out. She puts on some music and looks at him like, maybe we could be listening to this together? He hears it, and thinks of Pythagoras, thinks of Bach, thinks of the octave and the pentatonic scale, burrows back into his book. The mother smiles and shrugs and they drive on.