Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The year is 1964. Michael ran into his bedroom, crying quietly, his father yelling from downstairs. Michael shut the door and jumped onto the bed. He placed his face into the white pillow which he hugged with his arms. He was wearing a white undershirt and flannel pajamas. Michael kept his face pushed into the soft pillow until he felt the tears stop. He lifted his head and touched his left cheek where his father had hit him with a fist. It was tender. Michael sat up on the bed and noticed the small wall mirror. He quietly walked to the mirror and examined his face. His cheek was inflamed and had turned dark blue. He looked at his left hand where he touched his cheek and was happy to see no blood. But his hand was dirty from having played in the backyard dirt under the sick palm tree. The mess he made was the cause of his father's anger. It was different everyday. His father's rage came and went like the Santa Ana winds, unpredictable and with always a violent force. Michael reached into a drawer and rummaged around and found his sister's white glove. He put the white glove on his left hand to cover the dirt. He then looked back up at the mirror and stepped back, keeping his eyes on the mirror. He stepped forward. Then back again. Then forward, keeping his eyes on the mirror, looking at his face get smaller than bigger. Michael then thought he saw his face contort, one cheek up, the other down, his nose got bigger, one eye drooped. He was growing ugly. Michael’s heart raced. He walked forward to get a closer look at the mirror, but oddly saw that his face got smaller. He walked forward again and his face continued to get smaller. He did not know what was happening. Michael then looked down at his feet which were in white socks and black slippers and noticed that he was stepping forward with one foot but pulling himself back with his other foot, intending to go forward, giving the impression of going forward but actually walking backwards. Michael got scared. He thought this was spooky, like he was possessed by some demon that was tearing him apart, ripping him in opposite directions. He then felt a warmth in his crotch and realized he was peeing. He grabbed his crotch with his ungloved right hand and pulled it up to stop the peeing. It stopped. He was wet, but he had stopped himself and held it. Michael stood in the middle of the room, his right hand on his crotch, his left white gloved hand open and up near his face. He raised his head and saw himself in the mirror again. Michael looked at himself and would never forget this moment.