I spent most of my time alone as a kid. I would wander aimlessly on the immense plains of grass the school had, caged in from the world with metal wire gates. I would peer between the holes of these gates and wonder who would stop me if I simply climbed it right now. I had a good friend that always seemed to be hanging out with their other friends.
The only thing that entertained me was pretending to be something I was not—a baker.
I would use water from the school cafeteria and the drinking fountains to make my creations. Trickling a generous amount of water into a hole of moist soil, I used a large stick to stir the batter of dirt. When the mud batter had too much of a liquid consistency, I would add more soil. I scooped the thick, fudgy mixture and laid it out on the small slate of concrete that snuck under the fences, out in the sun to bake when I was in class.
They baked well; the two thick mud cookies were completely solid by the time lunch came. I foraged a plastic container from the sheer amount of litter on the grass fields and delicately placed a cookie inside. Now was time to make the icing. I poured in the water and stirred until the mud was a thick and creamy consistency. Slathering the slop generously onto my baked goods, now was time to give them to their designated customer. Me.
A Mother and a Son
I wonder what my grandma was like when she was younger.
Before she met my grandpa and had my dad, aunts, and uncles.
Was she wild and outgoing like a free mare? Or was she timid and docile as a pet rabbit?
Either way, I frown upon how she’s become. Or more so, what came to her.
Grandpa died 10 years ago. She lives alone in her tiny house with nobody to keep her company but the same old telenovelas she enjoys so much or so little on her tiny TV.
Her children don’t talk to her. They live in the same neighborhood as her.
My mom told me my father always had violent conflicts with her and so did his siblings. They lashed out at her and usurped whatever little money she had for their own funds.
We visit her sometimes and her house is always the same as when we’ve last seen it.
Empty, alone, and so, so desolate.
In my childhood home, there was never much to do. Tiny, but not enough to be cramped.
Most of the time, my brothers would be either watching T.V. or playing video games. I had nothing to do.
But I had a time machine. A closet at first glance, but a time machine.
When you enter the device, you will first find yourself in the forest of coats. A dark, dangerous journey in tight, narrow spaces that aren’t for the faint of heart. Each one is dustier than the one before, but do not fret.
Soon, you’ll be meandering through fallen shirts. Watch as carefully as you can so you do not trip and also watch for any hangers that threaten to pluck at your eyes.
Finally, you’ll reach the end. Huge plastic bags with dust powdering them like dessert.
I undid the knot that held them together and inhaled the scent of the clothing it held. The smell of 2002.
My baby clothing and other vintage items could be found. I was so enthralled and thrilled by this that I grabbed a piece of clothing I haven’t seen forever and rushed to my brothers, unaware I was covered in lint and dust with my hair in the shape of a cyclone.
Don’t be friends with her, she said. She’s a bridge burner.
Was what she told everyone who was friends with me in elementary school. Though, I have to laugh at who exactly was telling me this. She told me so many things that I believed because she was older and I thought she was smart. She was my friend; how could I not trust her?
I told her I was Buddhist. She told me I’d go to Hell if I don’t worship God and read the Bible.
She made me eat leaves. I had a nosebleed all day.
I brought my favorite, most prized stuffed animal to school. She threw him on the ground and trashed him.
I listened to her words and let her actions go mindlessly and I never realized I was more of her shadow than her friend. And it wasn’t just me she terrorized. She poured water on my other friends and chased them endlessly.
But when I finally broke things off with her, she became my biggest hater.
Spreading lies about me around the school like seeds scattered onto damp soil, sprouting rumors like how I punched one of my friends and how I’m a lying backstabber.
It eventually got so bad that I had my own close friends telling me about the things she says about me to them and the school.
Of all the things she’d called me, nothing stuck out like bridge burner. I’d never heard anything like that.
And somehow I liked that title.
He likes you. What a lie.
He likes you, he likes you, he likes you.
Was what they all told me. Never had a boy like me back. Not in elementary school, so why in middle school?
What about me was different? I pondered, staring idly at the way the leaves trembled in the jittery wind. The pale sun the color of a washed-out canary stared back.
He was my friend. I had many friends that were boys. We were close.
But after the white sand powdered me, the seas washed my mind and eyes, and the sun beat down on my brown skin, I pulled away. He eyes me from across the room as if waiting.
I’m waiting for him to stop.