So in walks this annoying ice cream covered child in messed up clothes and odd pig-tails. I caught a laugh in my throat as I looked at her, unable to figure out if she would be a future problem. It’s not like I didn’t like kids, I in fact had one of my own already, a girl too actually. But there was something about this misfit that pressed into a shape of a nice kid. Whatever it was, I didn’t know about it. She stood in the middle of my old carpet, and sized up the room. The girl was definitely a miniature of her mother, how I imagine she looked and acted when she was the same age. Same midnight skin, same neck, same face shape and pudgy lips. That foreboding realization didn’t help the feeling that this kid was looking at me as if we were eye-level. Short stuff was really leaning into her stare then she cracked a wicked smile and started rolling her dark-chocolaty self all over the floor.
From a far some things look good, but up close there’s so much, too much almost. Her mother swimming and flitting back and forth, in front of my door appeared so differently from right now. Right now it was real, and they were entering. Okay, so maybe this space isn’t mine but it’s more mine than theirs; a pitfall of a home where I could embrace a ‘dead-wall reverie’ when everyone moved onto other things in their lives. They all move and flow over and around me like I am a rock left in the stream. They crossed the threshold to become real figures standing on the carpet that my daughter’s mother bought, staring at me.
Her mom came in chastising her for being a brat and went off on a spiel about her not understanding how she got this way. Great now there’s dark stains and waffle crumbs deep in my carpet. She stood up and muttered something to her mother in response then jumped on the couch, looking for a remote I assume so that she could watch my TV. Her mom crossed over to the window and threw open the shades, spilling unwonted and piercing light into the darkness of my living room. I could see my old carpet in its sad condition, stomped on, walked on, left, and a lonely centerpiece for the cavernous room that had little decoration now.
It used to look like something I wanted when she first bought it for us. “Something needs to be on the floor so that she doesn’t hurt herself while she’s playing,” she used to say.
I felt cold and hungry all of a sudden, so I swallowed my suspicion and let it get lost in the cavern under my heart.
She had brought McDonald’s with her for dinner. There we were, one big happy, sucking back manufactured goodness. I turned on a comedy just to lighten my mood, but it ended up turning my stomach like the cheese on my hamburger. Bouncy over here didn’t like Eddie Murphy movies and her mom made some off-collar joke about everything Murphy being stupid. They wanted to put on South Park. I caged a strong urge to grace her neck with my fist. In what world, is letting a 3 or 4 yr old watch South Park a good idea?
I guess that was the beginning of the end. I never had a woman bring all of this out of me. All the other women in my life were normal. I slowly reclined on my carpet, slipping into recluse and rage with my eyes open, and let the kid watch whatever she wanted to.