December 18, 2017
By Brentable BRONZE, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Brentable BRONZE, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
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Home from his grandparents’ house, having spent the week with them by himself in that rural drowse where the two top leisure activities are sleeping or overstuffing on Grandma’s food, and then coming home Sunday night, bearing the long car ride, and finishing the evening going out to dinner with the family. Clontz is exhausted. Only motivated by a notion he thought of on the quiet ride back home from the restaurant: sleeping back in his fresh, clean sheets—slipping his body into the soft, cool envelope of rest, feet first—the side of his right foot sliding across the smooth bottom layer of Egyptian cotton as he stretched his toes against the pressure of the sheets neatly tucked in by his mother earlier that day when she made the bed in such a way that the blankets covered the pillow too, so after he had pulled back the covers from the corner of the bed, folding them over and revealing the pillow, and when the rest of his body had entered the pocket, situating himself with his hands behind his head and his legs stretched out, the pillow was not too cold as to be uninviting, but of course still cool enough to provide that wonderful refreshing feeling against his skin in perfect balance with the radiating warmth of the bag on his back, taking a long deep breath in through his nose as he embraced the oxygen and the scent of the fresh light green still partially scented from the washing detergent and fabric softener sheets—perhaps if he was more lucid he might have satirically commented to himself Ahh, Ocean Breeze™ as he breathed out, then smiled pleased with his witty comment—but on this particular night the diminishing energy of his mind would be completely directed on enjoying himself, and he would breath out as he drifted into the welcoming mental void…. Motivated by this notion, Clontz gets ready: a nominal, slumbersome, and hypnotic activity in which Clontz and his older brothers, Clantzon and Clack take turns showering, heating up their bags, brushing their teeth, waiting for each others’ bags to heat up, shutting off the snake light, using the restroom, and reheating their bags. This activity is nominal, but it isn’t necessarily organized; what happens happens. They all share the same room and bathroom, and there is no precedent for fighting over who goes first. And to be honest they don’t all go to bed at the same time every single night, but often times they do. As insignificant as this time seems, there is a certain unity and cooperation in brotherhood brought about by it only to be understood by them later in life.
It is nominal because although there is no order to what they do every night, there is a feeling of routine, and they don’t need to speak to each other in order to cooperate. In other words, someone else wouldn’t be able to tell that there is no order.
While all three of these brothers have overactive imaginations and at some point have been scared of the dark, Clontz is the youngest and is the only one that still deals with this problem. Normally he sleeps with the foyer light on and the door, as he would put it, slightly ajar. This night as usual in the nominal routine, Clontz makes sure the foyer light is on and the edge of the door is the slightly less than 4 inches away from the doorframe to create the appropriate beam of light bright enough to illuminate the bedroom so he felt safe in the dark, yet not too bright as to disturb sleep.
Tonight, his older brothers disagree with the latter notion. While normally used to his antics, they are not afraid of the dark, and with their younger brother gone for a week have grown to appreciate a dark room with a shut door.
Click. With Clontz and Clack in bed, Clantzon turns off the last of the two ceiling fan lights, usually the last communal action before morning. They never flick the switch because it’s by the door instead of the bed and would cut power to the two fans they usually keep running in some combination of high, medium, low, and off. Immediately the beam appears, and the last brother standing, the one who shut off the light, lets out a disturbed, but honest sigh, considering how much he would appreciate sleeping in the dark to how much effort he would be willing to put forth for it to what he could say to Clontz to convince him to sleep in the dark to how Clontz would react.
Clontz, even in his prescribed intent, knows what the sigh means, senses the sincerity in his brother’s breath and feels slightly guilty and ashamed of his fear. While his brother considers, Clontz temporarily dedicates that small sliver of consciousness to mill over the problem, and braces his eyes.
Clantzon turns the light back on and looks at Clontz, walking to the door.
“Dude, you’re eight now; I know you like to sleep with the light on, but that’s just something we all have to get over.” He shuts the door. “Can you try sleeping with the door shut tonight?”
Clontz realizes the truth to the statement, and looks forward to sleep. He’s already drifting away on his boat and doesn’t want to tip it and have to restart, so he answers simply. “
“Thank you.”
A few seconds pass…Click.

The author's comments:

I wrote this when I was assigned a piece in Creative Writing, to write about myself with a new name facing one of my childhood fears at the age of 8. I was assigned the name Clontz, a name I assume was intended to sound silly, but I think it's a perfectly fine name. Clontz handles his fear of the dark better than I did.

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