New Stories for 5/13/2015
Maybe mom was right. Maybe he had damaged his brain with beer and destroyed his heart with cigarettes. After watching him sleep like a suckling pig for hours and then throwing up all kinds of bright greens and yellows into our toilet like a bewildered beast, I never touched the stuff. My childhood was shit because of it. You wouldn’t touch the stuff either if you saw your old man falling down the stairs screaming at invisible demons.
Sure, it was difficult for me when I first got to school. Everyone wanted to know why I didn’t drink. Some guys in particular can be pushy. You know how those jock types can be? It makes them feel uncomfortable if others aren’t drinking with them. Jana was good about it though. She didn’t ask. We’d just do dinner and a movie and let the rest have their keg parties. Eventually I told her about my family. But despite her support, I started hearing this voice at night. With Jana beside me, I would try to sleep and a whispery hum would distinctly resonate between the buzzing of the dorm room heater.
It was 1975 when I used to watch television lying on my stomach with my head perched on my hands. My elbows always got sore so I would shuffle or cross my arms and rest my chin on them…Then my chin would get sore. Eventually, I’d be lying on my side or sitting cross-legged until I could go back to my tummy. Sometimes I would be lucky to have a throw pillow thrown at me. But I do remember the smell of our 1970’s shag carpet and picking our dogs hair out my mouth at times. I can’t describe the smell but the main ingredient was cigarette smoke. But I loved lying on the floor in our living room watching television with my family seated behind me on couches and chairs. I had a secret too; I could suck my thumb without them knowing.
I never sucked my thumb outside of our home, only at night and I finally stopped sometime in the 5th grade. It was a security thing, comfort, I’m not real sure but I remember Dad asking me if it “tasted good.” What a tool.
Anne-Marie shifted the weight off of her sleeping arm, letting the tingles subside as it hung over the side of the couch. The faded yellow and maroon paisley patterned couch had been her asylum for about a week now. Rebecca would let her stay on that thrift store purchase as long as she wanted to. The tiny apartment in Tacoma, Washington smelled of ash and body odor. Anne-Marie lit up a cigarette.
“So, you think you’re going to get off that thing before noon today?” Rebecca teased from the kitchenette, pouring herself a cup of coffee.
“I don’t got shit to get up for,” Anne-Marie said in a held breath, letting the smoke exit her mouth slowly before forcefully blowing it out.
“Well don’t get in a funk. Veda is coming over tonight to play cards. It would be nice if you weren’t sulking in front of the TV and actually joined in like you used to. You know, you can have a beer or two. I’m not gonna rat you out,” Rebecca said as she walked over and sat in the armchair near Anne-Marie’s head-side of the couch