The Cedarville Review 2021

then interrupted their reunion by stepping between them, putting on the most patient sneer he could muster, and saying, “Solomon, I think you’re a little confused. Marigold Tuppence is here to be the babysitter today, her first day. I’m fairly certain she’s not your childhood crush, given her age. Now, I would appreciate it greatly if you left her alone before I call the cops.” Solomon’s glare could have melted steel bars, or at least it would have if his eyebrows did what he wanted anymore. Now all they could do was twitch uncontrollably. His gaze moved from Martin to Marigold. Her face seemed concerned, but not on his behalf. She wanted to be here. For some reason he couldn’t understand, Marigold wanted this to go well, she needed to be doing this babysitting job. “Fine, I know when I’m not wanted,” Solomon said while once again patting his bald head. “But first, I have one question.” Martin opened his mouth to yell but before he could, Marigold said, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer, but you can ask.” Solomon looked her dead in the eyes and said, “How are you alive?” Solomon Trent had always been a watcher. Mrs. Cordova called him a peeper once, but that was inaccurate; he only saw her in her underwear once, and that was an accident he had no intention of repeating. Ten-year-olds don’t think about that when they’re looking through windows; he just had nothing better to do than watch his neighbors. People were more interesting from a distance than up close. By the time he was 12, his mother, tired of his inability to talk to people, forced him to actually talk to kids at school. Her rules were simple: Solomon needed to learn one specific thing about someone every day that they told him directly. Solomon took to the game with passion. Jeffery wanted to be a soldier. Marianne still slept with her dolls. Jonny’s dad was having an affair. So Jonny didn’t outright say that one, but it was kind of obvious given how Jonny’s eyes screwed up when Solomon asked who “Jessica” was and how his mother glared at her husband that one time Solomon had seen them. Solomon’s mother didn’t like that one. She wanted him to “only use what you have been told directly, do not base anything on assumption.” Solomon always rolled his eyes when she said that. However, high school occurred and Solomon matured in some ways. He regressed in others, but he finally sort of learned how to hold a conversation. He still watched the neighbors though. He did it less often; his homework load limited his ability to stare out the window. But, when he noticed someone new on the block, he couldn’t resist. On the morning of May 26, almost two weeks after he had graduated high school, Solomon Trent saw her walk across the street to start her job as babysitter for the Fairviews. She couldn’t be older than twenty and her hair was a deep yellow that matched the sunflowers on her bright blue sundress. Solomon was a connoisseur of first impressions. He liked to think he could figure someone out as soon as he saw them. That’s why he liked watching people; he could see the things people wouldn’t show him directly. He could see the way people grimaced or beamed after saying a first greeting so much better if he wasn’t the one giving the greeting. And this woman, she radiated…confidence was the wrong word, too close to arrogance, which implies a deeper insecurity. She was too at ease. Purpose. That’s what she had. The way she