I’ve been so long writing what has turned into a novella, hate that fucking word, and like, fuck me dead, I just want to write something without fucking worrying about that fucking carnival. Jesus. What the fuck did I get myself into.
I prefer my lies small and concise.
My mother was a wallflower, not the invisible kind exactly, but careful study was necessary in order to see the real her, the sparkling one my father detected, the one he traded his forty-five-year stint with bachelorhood for.
I was born on her 23rd birthday – and why not? – these sorts of coincidences are perfectly fine in short fiction.
My father was a Madison Avenue adman. He landed the Kodak account and they hounded him, he used the word hounded, to be their spokesperson, he used that word, too, when it was really a model they were after – someone handsome and older and dignified – and what with one fictional thing after another, pretty soon he was in the pages of all the magazines, on every billboard and television screen, my handsome, older, and dignified father, astonished over and over again by the gift of a Kodak camera.
Next thing I knew he was driving an Edsel on this page, enjoying a cigarillo on that, gave the Marlboro man a run for his money.
My mother sometimes accompanied him on set and before long she was hired as his on-screen wife who rode beside him in the Edsel, shared the couch with him during Kodak slideshows, offered him light after light for his never-ending miniature cigars.
My parents were happy busy successful people who loved me enormously and gave me oodles of freedom. Did I mention this was the 70s when kids wanted to be neglected?
I got picked up from school mostly by relatives, sometimes last-minute by neighbours from whose houses an aunt or grandparent would carry me through the dark toward spare bedrooms, sweet cereal and Tang for breakfast, pop tarts and secret notes in my lunchbox, my weird lifestyle sticking out all over the place. A change of weather overnight and I’d wear my grandfather’s sweater or an aunt’s neat leather gloves which made my hands so different from those of my clumsy knitted peers who looked upon me with something of jealousy but also pity, the teachers, too, for they cut me slack all the time, the neighborhood moms gave me extra cookies and too many hugs for the road.
I took it all of course, the slack and the sweets and the pity and the excess love that still bubbles in my wake.
Around three o’clock I’d look out my classroom window at the line of cars, see who today, and once in a while it would be the very Edsel from the commercials, my parents waving like crazy, those excruciating few minutes before the bell.