Calvin had drawn his original map of James with flat, muscled plains and sensitive valleys. Rivers of bright laughter, which burbled up from deep, cold pools of doubt.
Yet Calvin knew the nature of cartography: such maps evolve.
An example could be found in the way James softened at the sight of babies in those days.
Sentimentality was a trait Calvin had never guessed at and James had never revealed. Not in all the years they’d been together.
Tenderness fit James’s personality like a spiky iron breastplate made for someone a whole lot smaller. Yet there he sat, tickling tiny toes as if he had temporary amnesia. As if he’d been dazed by a head injury and remembered himself not at all.
Calvin couldn’t fathom this new reality. James cradled his sister’s little Sophia to his breast and smiled like a man recently possessed.
How very curious!
Calvin needed to redraw his map of James entirely under the circumstances. This was undiscovered territory and he — its first explorer — the first man to lay eyes on the beauty of a pristine new landscape.
Calvin observed laughter emanating from James at the oddest times, along with funny faces and blown raspberries and slow, sleepy hours of holding vigil while the newcomer napped.
James’ rocky shores eroded beneath the sweet rain of delight. His chaparrals bloomed with a riot of colorful wildflowers.
Possibility limned a brilliant, rich new continent where once Calvin had only drawn a wide, unknowable ocean full of repetitive days.
A new map, that’s what the situation calls for.
Calvin covered James gently with a nubby knitted throw and began to make plans for an expedition.