Chapter 3: Reason #2
As Simon grew, the stress of his family life caused him to develop nervous ticks. He would blink and blink and hunch his shoulders, raising them up to his ears. When he did this it almost looked as though he didn’t have a neck. It almost looked as though he were evolving into what his parents always said he was, a crow’s boy.
Simon’s cry sounded so like the “caw-caw” of a crow that his mother would scold or ignore him whenever he made the sound. It sent shivers up her spine to hear it. Soon Simon learned to believe that he was better off making no sounds at all. No fussing, no crying, no bumbling baby words. Simon, would just look through his silent black eyes, blinking and hunching his shoulders.
Make no mistake, Mrs. Loomin loved her little boy. There was a warm fuzzy place in her heart that ached for him. But Mrs. Loomin could not let him into that warm fuzzy part of her heart because it was barred by her fear of the crows. Every time she thought of Simon she thought of the empty fields, the empty cabinets, the empty warm fuzzy spot in her heart, and she was hurt and angry.
When Simon could walk, Mr. and Mrs. Loomin would let him wander freely about their property. Simon loved to practice his toddling steps out in the open empty fields. The crows watched him. He did not scream at them. He did not swing around wet laundry. He did not try to shoot them with a gun. The crows liked Simon. At first they just watched him. After all, he was a human. He did not look like a crow to them. They could see that he had the soft exposed skin, the long arms and fingers that could be found on boys and girls and that were always absent from the bodies of birds.
As they grew more comfortable with Simon, the crows would follow him. Landing lightly on the ground behind him and lifting themselves into the air with their broad black wings whenever he’d turn around. Soon though, they would let him look at them and walk closer. Eventually the crows and Simon came to be friends. The little boy would play hide and seek, and tag and sit and have silent chats with his crow friends. People began to notice the strange boy with his flock of feathered friends. People began to talk amongst themselves, at first in whispers, growing more bold. People called him “Crow Boy.” Mr. and Mrs. Loomin, when they heard this nickname, did not argue or defend their son. No, they only nodded, as if they’d known it all along.