Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Sad Moment

I have become the most uninteresting person alive.
I know that because you have chosen to spend your long weekend with the dog.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


 Billy walked to the front of the classroom, anxiety twisting his otherwise placid features. He wanted so desperately for the other students to like what he brought for presentation. Not only to like it, but to really look closely at it, so they could see how special Billy was.
It was important to Billy that the other children thought him special. All the television programs he'd been watching told him he was, and it was often so confusing when the rest of the world didn't seem to notice. Billy would like for his classmates to pay more attention, and start picking him first in gym class. Special boys, he was certain, were always picked first for team sports. They also got their pick of lunch tables, and even had dibs on the desserts other children brought for lunch. People like giving their treats to special people, because it makes them special by association.

Show-and-Tell was meant for yesterday's class, but Billy didn't see any reason why he should have to participate. He intentionally didn't bring anything, expecting that to be acceptable. Teacher, however, had other ideas and insisted that participation was required.  She sent him home with a stern reprimand and threats of cleaning chalkboards during recess if he didn't bring in something to show the class the following day.
"It doesn't have to be remarkable, just something that interests you. Billy, it's time you became an active participant in this class. I know you miss Tommy, we all do, but the police will find him soon, and before you know it, he'll be back at home like nothing had ever happened. In the mean time, this gives you a wonderful opportunity to make friends with some of the other children. Bring in something you'd like to talk about with your classmates; it'll be your first step towards some new friendships."
Again, Billy was confused how Teacher could be speaking to him as though he were just another student. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. How could Teacher expect the same things from him as she does from the other students? Isn't it her job to recognize the special boys?
A frown now plagued Billy's countenance.

He got home and threw his bag into the corner of his room, angry at Teacher. Tommy Tommy Tommy, he thinks. All anybody ever talks about, as though they actually think Tommy was the special boy. Of course, Billy knew better, Tommy was just another ordinary boy, but it still bothered him. The very idea that the police were even wasting their time looking for Tommy vexed him.
Tommy was his best friend and treated Billy just the way he liked. When they played tag, Tommy was always "it," even when he caught up with Billy. Same with Hide and Seek. At sleepovers, Tommy knew to always let Billy have the bed, even when his leg was in that cast.
But last week, Tommy was not being very good at all.  He had a Score Bar that he tried to hide from Billy. Even after Billy found it in his jacket pocket, Tommy refused to share, claiming that Billy never shared his candy, and it wasn't fair. It was as though he had forgotten that ordinary boys should ALWAYS share their treats with special boys.
Billy watched him eat the toffee treat, and then decided to share something with Tommy. He walked into Mommy's room and grabbed the small brass key she kept in the top drawer of her bureau. Mommy kept the key beneath her delicates, like that would ever stop him. How stupid Mommy can be, he thought, as he made his way, key in hand, to the attic. The attic is where Mommy keeps things that scare her.

Billy was gone for a few minutes, long enough for Tommy to lick his fingers clean of chocolate, and then returned with a dusty old album, with a picture on the cover that looked a little like Billy's dad. Billy told Tommy when they first started palling around that his dad one day just went missing, and Tommy knew exactly what that meant. Half the boys in their class had dads that went missing, and now they saw them on birthdays and Christmas, when they got to have extra presents.
Billy put the photo album in Tommy's lap and then excused himself to take a wiz. Tommy looked at the cover photo of Billy's dad and felt a little...perturbed. His dad had long needles in his face, and his mouth was open like he was screaming. Creepy, thought Tommy, and he opened the photo album.

When Billy came back, only the photo album was in the room, with a new picture on its cover. Tommy, done up like some boy from an old movie, but a needle poked through his face. Tommy's mouth open in a scream. I'll bet he wishes he shared his candy bar now, thought Billy, as he sat down to play some video games.
The police have been looking for Tommy for two weeks, but Billy knows exactly where to find him. Every day, there is a new needle, and Tommy looks more scared and Billy is glad to be teaching him some manners.

It didn't take much thought to decide on what to show the class. Billy was so angry with Teacher and is happy to finally show the class what a special boy he is. He brought his two most prized possessions that day for his Show-and-Tell inside a pillowcase, to keep them from being seen before he was ready. Now, standing in front of the class, full of ordinary boys and girls, he feels ready. Billy reaches into the pillowcase and pulls out his two presentations. First, is his skeleton toy. It is his favorite, he tells the class.
Then, the big reveal. Mommy's special photo album.
Teacher squints and leans closer. " that a picture of Tommy? But why have you made him look like that?"
Billy smiled at Teacher, like a nice boy.
Then he squeezed his eyes shut and opened the album wide, for the whole class to see.
Then, a sound. Of a pencil rolling and falling off a desk. Billy opened his eyes. A terrible smile upon his placid features.

Springtime Hopeful

Oakland library has a bunch of daffodils out front, in full bloom. I know California's winters are different, and flowers are always blooming, but these daffodils struck me as a "Finally, Spring has arrived!" kind of vibe.
With that comes so many ideas of what this warm weather will bring.
Maybe a bicycle ride through the Napa vineyards. Progressively more drunk and dangerous to myself and to the very idea of "upright."
New walks with the dog. Maybe Muir Woods. That place always looks beautiful.
Road trips!
This year, Spring will lead all the way to Summer, where my 30th birthday awaits. Like a bear hibernating,  it will soon crawl out of its cave and lunge at me.
I've decided Spring will be the few months I need to get back into shape. So that I can hit 30 feeling good about myself, and not hide beneath any more ponchos.
This Spring, I've learned to knit. A few hats (one of which is more of a fez, really, given my lack of pattern knowledge), one half of a pair of fingerless mittens, and a lonely pair of legs to a monster who remains out of my reach as of yet.
Spring is a general time of housecleaning and exercise, and a general willingness to persist in both. I welcome it all this year, and maybe I'll even welcome 30.