Now I will tell you little about my family…

I am the second of two.  My older brother was born in 1976.  He has pale blond hair which sticks straight up from his head.  He is a talented artist.  In the winding course of his adult life, he became a mathematician.  Now he drives a Dodge Charger, and lives in Baltimore, working for a classified employer who will read this post before it is published.

As for myself, I was born two months early, in the spring of 1978, in Walla Walla…

A friend drove my mother to the hospital.  My father was in another city that night.  He took a cab from his hotel to the airport, but arrived too late for the last flight out.  Not dissuaded, he abandoned the terminal.  Outside, he scaled a cyclone fence before dropping down onto the tarmac and running across the jetway to a small private plane, which he chartered on the spot.  He flew in the dead of night, under the watch of a private guard, who was armed with a pistol.

My father left his cab in the hospital parking lot and ran into the hospital, where he learned from my mother’s doctor that the odds were against my survival.  There was a 25% chance that I would live.

Odds can change things.  Whatever name my parents were planning to use, they discarded it.  Instead, they named me Peter…the rock.

Later, I became fond of putting letters together in nonsense combinations, using colored markers on large sheets of construction paper, which I would bring to my parents for their review.

“Is this a word?” I would ask.  “No” was always the gentle answer.

I persisted.  Occasionally, “Close”.

I remember little more than the construction paper, the letters in perfumed, colored ink (the red one smelled like cherry, the green, like mint), and the sound of one-word answers…

In any case, the failure didn’t bother me…  It was too much fun making up words which did not exist.  Occasionally I would wind the multi-colored characters together in a labyrinth of pathways on the paper, knowing there was a solution to the labyrinth, and its permutations of corridors, knowing that one of them might trace the figure of a word, a viable entity which had had its own existence long before I’d stumbled upon it.

Today, my brother, the mathematician, guns his car through the streets of Baltimore, tracing an encrypted figure in her labyrinth of streets.


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