Thursday, January 10, 2013

In the trees.

“They are hiding up there you know.”

Harold stared bug-eyed up at the trees. I remember those trees their colors green, brown and gold, their leafy tops high and swaying in the warm west wind.

“They watch us from up there, waiting for scraps.” he said.

Harold was always odd to me but I never abused him like the other kids. I can’t tell you another full sentence from any other kid in my sixth grade class, not a one.  But Harold’s words, on our street, that fading fall afternoon, those words are burned into my mind for all my existence.

Harold died that night. His mom found her strange little man white as a ghost curled with clinched fists in the tub. She would be told it was a seizure. She would remember his face and know better, but there wasn’t an answer that would be any consolation. Not to her, not for her little boy.

I remember those words spoken as that last October leaf fell and I wonder why. Why it took until now to realize we are not the giver of scraps to those unseen horrors waiting high above and watching. We are the scraps Harold was speaking off. I had this epiphany while looking into red hungry eyes.

 Let me go back a little, I should have time left.

The rest of those fall Saturdays were spent in counseling. Not really sure why, I had hardly knew Harold but my parents felt it was needed. I felt more disturbed wondering why I hadn’t cared more for a kid I didn’t know, why I didn’t care the way they seemed to think I should have.

The rest of my pre and teenage years were relatively normal. Just after high school I moved to the beach with friends, surf city usa. That’s when I noticed them for the first time.

I was never that popular during my childhood or adolescent years. Just after high school at the beach I felt potential for the first time. The girls started to notice me a little more than before.  Just after my 21 year I felt to be at the cusp of something better.

I met her at the local pub. The dive sat on the dividing line of a college town and the ghetto. It was a weird place where the privileged came to be hard and the hard came to be soft and both came to be cool.  She sat at a table by herself. She was both attractive and trashy. Her eyes followed me with an uncompromising stare. 

I felt ready, I felt i had a new understanding but I was wrong. My new confidence gave off a scent. I felt ready and she knew it. I sat, we laughed and drank. When closing time came I told her to meet me at the beach.

the moon lit beach was a pale blue. Her smile frocked by raven hair was ravenous. I had lain beside her as the waves broke behind us with gathering intensity. My highest hope of a kiss had been long realized when her hand slid down my chest. It inched down then it stopped at my bellybutton. A finger slipped in, I grinned between kisses at anticipation of a tickle. Then I felt her finger penetrate my abdomen as her tongue forced its own way unnaturally further. With the pain in my stomach I bit her tongue hard, almost to the point of biting it off. Both her hand and head retreated. I stood and I ran.

The next day waking up was hard but an hour and a half late and with a soft bloody scabbed bellybutton I went to work. Thinking about the hazy night before I was able to dismiss what seemed unreal, and herald my new worth, my new confidence.

I remember sitting in front of my computer hopping to reach five o’clock. Sitting stagnant and hopping to be unnoticed since I was too hung over to get any real work done. Then my supervisor’s manager called me in to his office. This was someone I had hardly spoke to in the halls. It was so strange that for the first time I wasn’t worried about losing my job but felt noticed, maybe things were a changing i thought.
I stepped into Frank’s office. He intimidated me, always had. He asked me to sit and I obliged. He had those plush leather recliners, not something expected in an office. I felt so uneasy and yet like I belonged there sinking into the cushions. Like I deserved for him to take notice of me. Frank stepped beside me. With sleight of hand speed before I could object he lifted my shirt, un-tucking it he exposed my belly.  He looked at my scab.

“You’re not ripe at all, no harvest here.” he said with annoyance.

Suddenly his eyes turned black and his teeth  numerous and sharp. And for the second time in twenty four hours I forgot about my social strife or reality and ran.

Outside running turned to walking when I had no strength left. I had been walking  for some time when I heard them start to drop from the trees. I tried to hurry again but was too weak.

Here now I look at these things and their red eyes and I know I didn’t get away. No I was left for scrap. 
Copyright S Williams 2013

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