I know you said not to write until after some months, but Mamma said at dinner last night that any of us could drop dead any second because no-one knows how long we’ll live, and I think it was leading up to the usual stuff about Heaven and Hell, but it got me to thinking well what if you suddenly drop dead and I never ended up telling you about the giant in the balcony, so I thought that even though you did tell me I should only write after it’s been a while or else the other kids would make fun of you for receiving a letter from home too early that I should definitely write to you and if the other kids do make fun of you, you can just tell them it’s cos we can’t decide when we’re gonna die.
Last week, I got real sick again, so sick that I had to be taken to the hospital, and I had to spend four nights in Room 101 on the third floor until I got well. Mamma stayed those nights with me, and I always fell asleep before she did and woke up before she did.
So the first morning, when I woke up pretty early, I opened the curtain just a little bit so I could look outside. You know how there’s an apartment building across the street and you can see the people that live there through their windows like as though you’re looking at dolls living in a doll-house? Well, I was looking straight across once, and I saw a man on the balcony, and I immediately got scared because he didn’t look doll-sized or anything. I mean, I don’t understand physics as well as you do, but I was sure if he was that size in that distance, then he had to be some kind of giant. The giant came out to the balcony and sat there reading the papers and drinking from a cup. I watched him the entire time he sat and read and drank and then he went back inside.
When mamma woke up, I told her about it and she said ‘uh-huh’ like how she says ‘uh-huh’ when she’s busy with something else and isn’t listening to a word you’re saying. Instead she told me to take my medicines so I could get well again. I kept looking out the window so that I could show mamma the giant but he didn’t appear again until about maybe 4 in the afternoon which was when mamma had gone down to buy some juice for me. He stretched out his big hairy arms and yawned and simply stood there leaning on the rail for a while. He caught me staring at him and he waved at me, and I didn’t want to be rude but I looked away as soon as he noticed me. I kept looking at the door and then back to the giant hoping mamma would come in just in time to see him but he went back inside and mamma missed him again. I told her so, but she couldn’t concentrate on anything other than making me drink the juice and take my medicines. In any case, the juice tasted even worse than the medicine, and drinking it almost made me throw up.
The next day, he came out to the balcony again, and this time, after he finished reading the papers and drinking his tea, he bent down to pick up something and then he put the thing on top of the rail, and the thing turned out to be one of those hairy dogs whose eyes you can barely see, I’m sure you’d know what they’re called if you saw it, Earl. It was white and grey and the giant combed his hair just like how Joanie combs her Barbie doll’s hair, and by the time he was done, the dog’s hair was all straight and not shaggy like he was when I first saw him, and he looked real happy, especially since the giant kept feeding him treats, and later the giant got a beach ball which he placed on the dog’s nose and the dog balanced it for a full minute. I told momma about it but when I mentioned how the giant’s brushing of his dog’s hair was similar to Joanie with her Barbies, she suddenly remembered that she had almost forgotten to ask Uncle Eric to pick her up from school and she didn’t pay any more attention to what I was saying.
You know those drawings I used to make in kindergarten of the sun coming out from the mountains and birds shaped like ‘V’s’ in the sky? Well the giant made a painting almost exactly like that on the third day, except his birds didn’t look like V’s at all, even from afar, and his sun wasn’t yellow but more like orange-red, but I think he did a much better job than me. In the afternoon, I was crying because I felt dizzy and I really wanted to go home, but the giant hung a dart board on the wall next to the door that was as big as his head and I swear to God, he hit the Bullseye every single time, and I was so amazed, and I asked mamma later if we could get a dart board and she said it’d be the first thing we did when we got home!
On my last day at the hospital, I saw him again, and this time he was wearing a vest so I could see that he had muscles just like He-man’s. When he stood at the door, he bent down and lifted a barbell, you know, like the ones Uncle Eric has but these ones were bigger. After lifting about ten times or so, he put the barbell down, took a step forward and picked up a barbell that was even bigger than the first one, and it didn’t look at all like it was any effort for him. After this, he took another step forward, bent down and picked up an even much much bigger one. And at that time, mamma came in saying the doctor said it was ok for us to go home, and I said ‘mamma, come look!’ and she looked out the window just as the giant bent down probably to pick up a fourth barbell, but mamma didn’t have enough patience to look out the window for more than two seconds, and she immediately started packing my things and helping me get dressed to go home.
Just as we were about to leave, I saw the giant lean on the balcony rail. He was patting his dog with one hand, and waving at me with the other, and this time I made sure not to be rude and I waved back at him and he smiled happily at me, and I smiled too, and I thought he seemed like a nice person after all and not scary at all.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that much, I’ll write a longer letter next time. I’ve been playing darts these days and I thought it’d be easy but it sure isn’t. You gotta write back and tell me what boarding school’s like, I’m sure it beats being home-schooled anyhow. But mamma said I might come join you in some time if everything goes well. She’s gonna take me and Joanie to the circus this weekend, they’re in town for a month and Joanie wanted to go see the elephants, and I told mamma circus is for small kids and that I didn’t wanna go but she’s taking me any way and I’ll write all about it in the next letter, but only after you send me a reply for this one.
your brother Peter.