Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"At the Expense of the Future"

I don't believe in inaugurations or season premiers. Weddings even. One time I believed in He-Man and Legos. The pages between my father's matresses. There's no creator and I don't create anything. I don't even believe in this. Not that my belief matters at all. I mean, does it matter whether a dead man believes he's dead or not?
I used to believe in He-Man until he vanished one afternoon at 15:00 CST. Actually, I stopped watching long before that. Sometime before that, I'm sure, he disappeared from a light table. I don't understand how Arnold appeared on screen instead: that docile dwarf's smile of a completely unrepressed minority. He wasn't even a cartoon. I watched one episode. Sometimes I'd hear it while cleaning or playing legos. I'd hear it with my brother's laughter. It was before three thirty. Actually, I don't believe in time either.

I woke up early to drink a cup of coffee with my father. I am twelve. The coffee takes two cigarettes and a shave to finish. I pour his cream while he comes from the master bedroom bathroom. He leaves the door cracked and I can see my sleeping mother wake slowly in the bathroom light. Her left breast is exposed. I hand my father his coffee. I sip mine. Too strong he says. Too sweet. He pours his coffee out. I ask him for a job description. He laughs. My mother gets out of bed the moment the S-10 pickup muffler sounds away. She rubs my head. I go outside. I don't know why I went outside. The garden drips dew and the air is windless. When I don't know why I do things, I feel like I'm in purgatory. Somehow I'm acting against myself when I don't understand myself. I am outside. Here, I am twelve forever. Twelve changes, that's all.

I am watching a parade. I am too young to know how old I am. I think I'm deaf. All these horns blow by and I think they're daylight stars or angels atop an advent wreath. I can, not see an end to the parade. I crawl down my mother's body and let go her hand. My brother is spitting hot chocolate on people. My mother grabs him. I join the parade. I am an angel. I ask the man without an instrument what parade this is. He says it's a timed parade. Seeing my misunderstanding he points to the back of the parade. Now I can see it. I can see it because the last row of musicians fall after each bar of music. I run to the front and ask the man with the wand to slow down. He doesn't see me. The man I talked to has fallen down too. I run to the front of the parade, but am too slow. I look back and see the audience still stands at each side. They aren't falling. I run to bystanders but can't get through. I realize they are wooden cut outs and I can't push them down. I begin to panic and cry. "Are you afraid of the sounds, Schatz?" my mother asks me. I bury my little head in her shoulder. Her jacket itches my face.

Elizebeth wants to give birth to me. I told her I don't know what birth was. Lizzy lifts her shirt and tells me to crawl in. I start with my head and then sit on her stomach. Too heavy, she says, then pushes me on my side. I'm frustrated. She's frustrated. I wish I was smaller. Star comes over. He sits next to Lizzy. I tell them the story about the timed parade. I told them we could all go one time and see if we could go back, maybe those people at the end had something to do with birth. They tell me its very interesting and all, but Star came to tell Liz her mom wants her home. I said ok.

Star: You don't really believe all that stuff about the parade, do you?
Liz: Of course not.

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