Monday, January 21, 2008

Bloor Line, listening closely.

Boy, 7 or 8, with sunny blonde hair and pale, tired face, bundled in his winter wear, boots floating over the salt-encrusted floor. His head rests gently on his mother shoulder as she leans in whispering, reading aloud and cuing him with occasional bursts of gesture, places where he might laugh. At these moments, he shifts his weight, looking up into her eyes and nodding -- Yes, he confirms, that was a funny part. -- then slumps back into position.

The Secret Life of Owen Skye, Alan Cumyn (Groundwood Books)

Page 69:

The laughter spread faster than the fire in the ditch, ugly and unstoppable. Why had he ever thought of giving her Uncle Lorne's ashtray?

Owen ran over to Sylvia, grabbed the ashtray, then held it high in the air.

"I am Doom Monkey the Unpredictable!" he announced. "And this is my Atrocious Hat!"
His mother has focus, her role to distract her young son from the fact that he can't breathe, his upper lip chafed by dehydration, no amount of fluids seeming to relieve the stale mucous which coats the back of his throat. His mouth hangs open, each shallow breath passing over his lips a nuisance, like lost air in a pipe squealing throughout a household. It won't stop until you do, discomfort this round's winner.

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