Friday, 23 October 2015

Seven or Eight Things I Know About Him

His Mother's Baby
The day after his mother screamed and his father drove her to the hospital, he found a towel laden with a red liquid staining her cream coloured carpet. He threw it in the garbage bin in the bathroom, the one with hand-painted yellow ducks swimming on it. When his father drove home, alone, three days later with inflamed eyes and alcohol ridden breath, he was found tucked inside his Hot Wheels bed, the blood of his late mother and sister on his hands.

The Dog
The Boxer was shabby, ugly, its fur matted with dirt and its nails far overgrown. Its hair was raised as it looked at him in fear. He reached forwards with his grubby little hands, sticky from the mud and the popsicle on his face and the booger he had picked from his nose, and grabbed on the dog, pulling its skin and massaging it. Like any other dog, this one reached forwards to lick the leftover peach from his face, giving him sopping, wet kisses that he was happy to return. He was lucky that dogs, especially that one, were tolerant creatures, especially near children, because even though he stood two feet taller and eighty pounds heavier than the other kids who played on the monkey bars, his skin was still like Play-Doh, tears were always near the surface, and he still had four baby teeth.

The Sunroom
Every day at three o'clock, the little children would close their eyes and yawn like tiny mewling kittens, drag their blankets into the glass-roofed Sunroom and curl up like pillbugs and soak up the sun. He loved the Sunroom. When he turned six, he was told that he was too old for napping. He tried crying for three days, but he wasn't as cute as the other children. He was big and homely and reminded the supervisors about everything they hated about themselves. He snuck into the Sunroom and didn't leave on the Friday. They locked the door, not seeing him inside the largest empty clay pot. He got hungry and wailed, but no one was there to hear. He threw a rock at the glass and went to the hospital, unconscious and covered in cuts. The principal made an announcement the next Monday that the Sunroom was closed and would not reopen.

First Criticism
When he was four years old, he was stuffed in a suit and his hair was combed with fervour in order to please his mother's father. His pudgy hands were clasped together and he was forced to keep eye contact with his grandfather's surly stare. "Well? Doesn't he talk?" He opened his mouth and gurgled, his thick tongue trying to make sense of his grandfather's name. "What's wrong with him? Is he stupid? Mina, feed him less."

Listening In
A Sunday walk with his dog, passing, hear, "Not many years left, not many at all."

"There're doors I can't fit through, bottles I don't know how to open."

A world so simple, with everyone he loves and no one he hates. A world where there's an infinite supply of Oreo ice-cream with little sprinkles, where his grandfather never existed and where he had a little sister. A world where his dog could tell him its name.

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