Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spadina Station platform, side by side in line.

Caucasian woman, early 40s, with light red hair, green overcoat, red velvet pants and faded red sneakers.

Wonderful Wonderful Times, Elfriode Jelinek (Serpent's Tail)

Page 140:

The son grinds his jaws and says nothing, defending Mummy is pointless because Pop will only attack her all the more violently. He'll calm down. Rainer's knuckles stand out white on the wheel as if they were going to split through the skin.

One of the drawbacks of having a mother who taught at the same school was hearing what the other kids thought of her. She was The Pretty Teacher so it was mostly good. But, like the boys who pull your hair and crack your ribs, pushing your chair into your desk so you can't breathe, there were those who insisted on calling her ugly and fat, just to get a rise out of me. One such boy already knew its effect because he’d tried it out the summer before; first through the trees that divided our adjoining properties, and then from our front lawn, where he yelled until I came out, all girly pumping action, and went ballistic on his scrawny body. My mother was horrified. She didn’t like this kid any more than I did, but I couldn’t go defending her every time someone called her names. At night, I’d hear her get up and close her window to the raucous laughter of drunken adults, and I wondered what it must be like to be a kid and live in that house.

I stayed out of his way, as best I could. But, one day, I overheard him cursing a streak of obscenities so vile that I dragged him into a play area tucked away from the other grounds. I’ve never had much desire to punch someone in the face, or the gut for that matter, so I turned him over and brought down two clasped fists on his back. It was like cutting water; I thought I’d gone straight through him. He buckled like a crushed pop can, landing hard on the ground, winded and coughing. I could feel the imprint of his spine against my wrists as I rubbed them, backing off slowly, scared shitless that I’d seriously him.

He got to his feet and cackled, brushing the spittle from his chin before heading over to the water fountain where he washed his face and drank, his shoulders shaking.

And, that was that. We'd both learned something about ourselves. I was capable of rage. And he would never escape it.

No comments: