Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Teach, Baby

I was not the guy they wanted to bed. Nor the guy they wanted to wed. I was the buddy, the pal, the responsible one, the guy that actually showed up during times of trouble, and serious boredom.

Nitch was the second of four. The second unwed mother I’d accompanied to the hospital to stand in for their boy toys who couldn’t “do the time” for various reasons. Nitch was the strongest, the one with an iron grip during labor, who took my offered flesh and crushed each cell one by one as if they were bubble wrap pockets; the only girl who left a scar I can still see 43 years later.

It was her daughter, wheeled so close to the glass during my viewing that she’d been able to plant the sole of her right foot on its pristine surface, who’d moved me to see my fate as not a burden but an accidental miracle. Until then it was a job, my duty, all about me; and the mothers of course, those objects of my unrequited loves and such silliness.

I bent to one knee to inspect the teeny footprint left on the window, stunned by how perfect it was, how detailed, how like my own in miniature. Suddenly it was all about them, the innocents, born to slugs and wenches without so much as a “is that ok with you?” I occurred to me that at 17 years, in spite of my opinion to the contrary, I didn’t
actually know shit after all. But I was learning.

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