Stella poked her head into the living room. She wanted to check on her younger brother, who was being awfully quiet. Their parents had gone out for the night and had entrusted her to keep an eye on the four-year-old. It was a Saturday night and Stella would have preferred to be at her friend’s house or even just up in her bedroom listening to music, reading a book, or even just lying in bed alone. Anything was better than babysitting your little brother, right? Still, she wanted to get a little spending money since she was going to the mall with her friends the following weekend.
Walter was quiet in the room. He laid on the floor with blank paper and a box full of crayons. He couldn’t make too much of a mess with crayons, right? Stella tried to see what he was doing but couldn’t. She didn’t want to get too close to him. He was so quiet and calm that she didn’t want to disturb him. This was the easiest babysitting gig she had ever had and she didn’t want to ruin it.
Deciding that he was fine, Stella turned her back to go back out into the kitchen. Some new baking show was coming on and she wanted to watch it. She had never really watched baking shows before but all her friends raved about them so she thought maybe she’d give it a try.
She winced. She was caught.
Stella backtracked to the doorway and looked over her shoulder. Walter was still where he was but now he was staring directly at her fiddling with a purple crayon in his hands.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Hi,” he smiled.
“Hi,” she deadpanned.
“What are you doing?”
“I was going to watch TV. Do you need anything?”
He shook his head.
“Good. Enjoy.” Stella turned back around to walk away.
She groaned walking backward again. She stepped into the living room and leaned her body against the archway. “Yes?”
“Do you want to color with me? I’m making zigzags.” Walter held up a piece of paper to show her.
Sure enough, there were zigzags on the blank page, but it was just a couple of lines. Stella stepped further into the living room and looked down at all the papers he had. They all looked the same, just different colors. The pages were barely filled and each only had four or five zigzagged lines on them.
“What a waste of paper.” She muttered.
“What?” Walter asked.
“Nothing, I mean… they look good. But don’t you think you should put a little more color on the pages?” Stella asked. She squatted down beside him pointing to a couple of the pages. “There’s a lot of white on there and you have so many crayons that haven’t been used yet.”
Walter sighed in annoyance.
Stella narrowed her eyes at him. “What?”
Walter sat up and began rearranging the pages. He placed them beside each other, making their edges touch. He put some above, some below, and some next to each other. Stella watched carefully as he did this so precisely and narrowed her eyes trying to figure out what he was doing.
When all the pages were arranged accordingly, Walter sat back and looked at Stella expectantly. Stella too sat back impressed at the large picture before her. He had colored on about ten pages so far and when placed right beside each other, all the lines were connected to another page somehow.
“It’s a puzzle. Want to help?” Walter asked.
Amazed, Stella nodded her head. “I don’t think I’m going to be as good as you though.”
Walter grabbed a pink crayon and handed it to her. “Don’t worry. I’ll teach you.”