My Baby, Goodbye
On their first date, she asked, “If I were in a coma, how long would you wait?”
She sleeps now like poisoned princesses–and he’s awake with the memory of that answer.
“Until I can’t anymore,” he’d said.
Today, he whispers, “Wake up” in all that’s left of his voice.
Each morning, school announced, ‘Have a nice day. Or not. It’s your choice.” As if the pressure to have a nice day was too great. As if everything–grades, scores, getting called freak, thrown against lockers–resided in us. Our choice. Like being born and memorizing the capitol of Portugal.
It took three game systems, a 60-inch HDTV, junk food, and surround sound to get their son to be unafraid of the basement.
They snuck upstairs. She said, “You know what would be funny? Go down there like monsters.”
“I’ll find the ski masks,” he said.
“I’ll get the knives.”
When he found the Kiddie City receipt on Christmas Eve, he danced around the tree as if Melissa Appleby had found him under the mistletoe. He shouted, “Hallelujah.” He now liked eggnog.
For the past ten years, he’d been living under the illusion that his parents had given him nothing.
Sheila writes everything on her arms. 6:00 dinner Carol. New Depp film. World was flat once. While she sleeps, I write Marry Alex, but in the morning she scrubs it away along with Plath a fraud & Tennis 2:30. For her birthday, I’ll buy permanent markers. She’ll buy Brillo pads.
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