Monday, 13 February 2017

Snippets: Boy

Moment I opened my eyes I thought, o-oh, better scarper double-quick. She was looking down at me with tears in her eyes, honest to God tears and going, “Oh, my beautiful boy, how perfectly you’ve turned out. I am quite the happiest mother alive.”


Now you might take those words to mean I had it made, I’d have a cushy life with my ‘mother’ waiting on me hand and foot, forgiving me every little transgression and always making sure I had the best of everything. But I ask you, what kind of life is that for a boy? She’d have fussed and worried and never let me out of her sight. I could see it in her, right from the start. I’m lying there, helpless as a newborn babe – which is, after all, more or less what I am – and I tell you, she’s going on and on about how fabulous I’m going to be, how I’m going to make her proud. And obviously you could think, fair enough, she made me, and I am clearly something to be proud of, but you see there’s something there in her voice, something that’s making warning bells ring. And then she says it. She say, right out loud: “And you’ll never leave me.”

And that’s when I knew for absolute sure that the moment I can I’m off-ski.

I get that she was a lonely old woman and everyone’s left her and she wants some company. She should get a cat or a little bird in a cage though, not a boy. She’d have loved me alright. But just imagine what her love would have done to my life. She’d have been running after me with scarves to keep me warm the moment the wind changed. She’d have been standing by the door waiting for me the moment I was due home from school. She’d have kept me in shorts when all the other boys had moved onto long trousers. I’d have been there, at home, forever, her precious little boy.

Obviously there was nothing I can do about the situation right away. I was helpless, as I said. All I could do was watch and wait and hope she had no idea of what my plan was.

She prodded my soft belly with her finger and smiled indulgently. “I’ll just pop you over here to cool down, lovely boy.”

Right by the open window. Perfect. The cool air wafted over my limbs. I felt their strength growing. Outside first, the ends of my limbs, my head, gradually spreading to my belly. I flexed my arm, bent my leg, sat up, stood.

“Careful, my boy,” she said, as I stood on the window ledge. “You’ll fall out and bump your little nose.”

I bowed, as well as I was able to.

“I thank you,” I told her, “For making me so fine and strong. But I am not a boy, I am a man. And I’m off.”

And with that, I was out of the door and running as fast as my little legs could carry me.

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