James and Karen lay in their bed with their three-month-old son in between them. They had just finished feeding little Sammy and reading him a bedtime story and were playing with him; hopefully he would tire out and fall asleep soon so they could put him to bed. They were also hoping by dangling the line of connected plastic rings above him that he'd grab at them and maybe improve his grappling skills. Mostly he was just flailing his arms about and kicking his legs.
"Laoh ah doo ahhh wahhh," Sammy said as his arm jerked out and struck the plastic rings. James and Karen giggled excitedly.
"It's like he's having a conversation with us," James said as his little son babbled on.
"I wonder what he's saying," Karen said as she grabbed one of his tiny hands and felt how soft it was.
Sammy seemed to lose interest in the rings. He began looking up toward the ceiling. James looked up, expecting to see a bug or spider that may have caught Sammy's interest. But there was nothing there but the boring white drywall that separated their room from the attic.
"What's he find so interesting up there?" James said as Sammy babbled some more as if he were having a conversation with the ceiling. "Why does he sometimes just look up and seem interested in nothing?"
"Yeah, there's nothing up there," Karen said as she looked at the ceiling, frowning.
" OOoo ah woe la da," Sammy said as his wide eyes continued to stare directly above him. Depending on the lighting, they either looked dark blue, brown, or green. His parents mused that his eyes must still be undecided on what color they'll ultimately be.
"Just what is up there that's so amusing?" James sad as his son smiled real big and even stuck his little pink tongue out a little.
"Why don't you ever talk to them?"
Sammy looked at the two blue, shining figures as they hovered above him. They resembled mommy and daddy except they had wings attached to their backs that flapped so fast he could hardly tell they were there. They were also very small. Sammy could reach out and grab them if he had bigger hands.
"Oh, they can't hear us," the Girl said. "And even if they could they wouldn't understand us. Like they don't understand you when you try to talk to them."
"Yes, they can't even see us," the Boy added.
"I never knew that before," Sammy said as he tried to flap his arms, hoping that maybe if he tried hard enough he'd eventually be able to fly up to them.
The flying ones giggled at Sammy. Whenever they did that the laughter always sounded like it was coming from more than two voices, like it surrounded him.
"How many times have we told you?" chuckled the Boy. "You'll never fly like us."
Sammy sighed. Then he smiled. "I know, I know. I still like to try." He looked at his parents, one then the other, then back at the flying ones. "Why can't they see or hear you guys?"
"Because they no longer see or look at everything as you still do," the Girl replied.
"Their brains are different," the Boy added. "It is more difficult for them to see and hear everything in the world because once they grew up, they only saw what they were taught to expect to see. Things like us, when they do happen to see us, it frightens them and they try to forget."
"Did they have friends like you when they were as small as me?" Sammy asked.
"Most likely," the Girl said, grinning. Her big, round eyes always sparkled more when she smiled.
"But they can't see them now?" Sammy asked. He started to frown.
"No," the Boy said.
"They must be sad that they can't talk to them anymore," Sammy said, looking at his parents again.
"It's OK," the Boy said as he flitted from mommy to daddy. Whenever he moved around in the air he made a tiny whirring sound. "They don't even remember them. Humans rarely remember anything from your age."
Sammy suddenly felt very sad. "Will I forget you guys someday?"
"Yes," the Girl said as she grabbed the Boy's hand. "Once you start saying their words and start seeing things as they see them, you'll forget about us. It is the Way It Always Has Been."
"But that makes me sad," Sammy whined.
"It's OK, you'll get over it," the Boy said. "We already told you all of this last week. See, you've forgotten already. In a few nights you'll be smiling again when you see us."
"Well, I'll have to remember not to forget you," Sammy told them, looking back up at them again. Mommy began lightly shaking his arm as she was still gripping his hand. He gripped her fingers tighter in return. Sammy was pretty sure she liked it when he did that.
The flying ones chuckled. "Well, you can try," the Boy said, "but it won't do you much good."
"The best thing we can do is enjoy the time we do have together," the Girl squeaked. Then she flitted down to Sammy, turned around, and tickled his nose with her wings. Sammy giggled. This seemed to excite Mommy and Daddy. The Boy got his tiny flute out of a hidden pocket in the sparkly robe thing he wore and began playing it. The sounds were so sweet; Sammy loved it when he played his flute. He began to move his feet to the tune. Mommy and Daddy made some sort of approval noises.
"I love you guys!" Sammy said as he smiled real big up at them.
"We love you, too," the Girl said as the Boy continued to lay.
"I'll never forget you, you shiny flying people," Sammy said dreamily as he felt the warm fingers of sleep begin to seep into his head.
"Well, we'll never forget you," the Boy said as he put his flute away.
"Yes, we must go for tonight, it's bedtime for you," the Girl said. Then she kissed his forehead with her tiny, cool lips. Sparkles began to pepper the air between them as she slowly backed up into the air.
"See you tomorrow night," the Boy said, grinning at him. Then they vanished as Sammy drifted off into sleep.
Karen carefully lifted little Sammy up off of the bed. Followed by James, she quietly crept out of the room, into the hallway, and into the nursery where she softly put Sammy in his crib. Her little boy stretched and smacked his tiny lips, but did not wake up as his mother placed the cover over his legs and chest.
"Goodnight, sugar plum," Karen said before kissing her baby's forehead. James also told his soon goodnight and kissed his cheek.
James sniffed and rubbed his nose. Something had tickled it.
"Got the sniffles, honey?" Karen asked him.
"No, something tickled my nose." James said. "Musta been a floating hair from one of those damned cats."
Months later, one Saturday afternoon, Karen excitedly came running into James' study. "Come quick, he said 'hello!' He said 'hello!'"
"Really?!" James yelled. He had to run to follow Karen back into the living room where Sammy was sitting on the floor, playing with his Leap Frog toy.
"Doo ah ah blah blah waaa hello," sang the strange device Sammy liked to bang on to get the lights and music to start.
"Doo wahpan loo 'hello,' Sammy!" his mother yelled happily. Sammy smiled and decided to say the word again since it pleased his mommy so much.
"Hewwo!" Sammy said between giggles. Mommy jumped up and down. Daddy got excited, too.
There's something I'm supposed to remember, what was it? thought Sammy as he felt something tickle his nose.