Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cherish

Cherish returns to OGW, still struggling with her son when she's still a child herself.

Cherish:  Maypole still leaning against the wall, kid-sized, ribbon-wrapped.

Cd's in stacks of various sizes -- two, six, four, eighteen -- no shit, I counted.

Computer desktop repeating images of havanese puppy, documents and folders all over the desktop, too many, a mess.  Like everything else.

Three separate mugs of broken pencils, dried-out felt-tips, a child-sized scissor, a laundry marker for writing "JONAH Johnson" in his underwear for school.

His clay handprint, one finger broken off missing, uneven red paint splotchy, cracked.

Pepsi Max I'm drinking.

Pepsi Max -- three empty cans.

Ashtray, full.  Shaking hands.  Stack of bills too high, checkbook balance staring up at me, too low.

"Mommy, wanna play a game?" Jonah asks, coming out of our shared bedroom, a room which hasn't seen a date for four years.
     "Mommy can't.  Go back to bed.  I hafta do this."  Mommy -- I mean, Cherish, I mean, me -- I drag on a cigarette, blows out with pursed lips, in a direction away from Jonah.
     My son runs into the hanging cloud of smoke however, trying to catch it in his little brown fists.
     "Jonah!  Don't!"
     "I'm catching the smoke, Mommy."
     "Don't I said!  It's bad for you!"
     "I hafta 'tect you Mommy.  From the bad smoke."  His pajamas are worn-out, and the Hulk top doesn't match the Batman bottoms. 
     I gasp, almost break-down, but stop myself.  "Jonah, please, Jonah!  Go back to bed now.  Mommy has to finish--"
     "Whatcha' doin'?"  There's a hole in the armpit of Jonah's sleeve that I see when he holds his arms up to reach my neck, which he grabs as he tries to climb on my lap.  He gets bigger everyday, and when he pulls on my neck with all his weight, it hurts, a lot.
     "Jonah!"  Too loud.
     His mouth opens in an "O", and then he bursts into tears.  Between gulps of air he chastises me --  "We... s'pposed to... 'tect each udder... Mommy."
     "I know."  I sigh.  I kiss his head.  "You're a good boy."  I pull him onto my lap, fucking annoyed as hell but what can I do?  We have to protect each other.

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