"well", she asked me blandly on the first date while I was eyeing her leg non- blandly in the way you do when the conversation has stopped because the food has arrived but you have eaten enough not to still be falling on your food in hunger. " so what was your childhood like ?" 'We had a good time", I said.
I remembered the day they unpacked my sister from the suitcase. "shhhh" Mumma said giggling. We unzipped the brown leather suitcase and my little sister giggled again after her silent journey. One by one we had been smuggled into the small apartment that Mumma had rented saying "yes, yes I have only one child and no pets".
After she left and the money ran out, we went to the park to get our water. Being children we were god of growth and magic so every tin can became filled with plants that we watered, and they grew up and sprawled on the balcony and by every window of the apartment. Sometimes the older couple below us would sneak a look out as my sisters grew bolder and at times went out on the balconies at dusk to water the plants and spill some over the edge to watch it fall. Our food containers full of plants built up and our friends came over everyday to play video games until the electricity got turned off.
Always the check would arrive barely on time. Past the time when the lights and water were off but before the case of Ramen was finished. Our mother never came with the money. I was the mother who paid the checks as I had been taught and occasionally fended off the landlady when she called to speak to my mother of whom my concept became increasingly complex as my inner picture of her grew dimmer. She was so beautiful that in my nightmares the best attributes of her beauty become the most horrible. Her soft hair swung over my mouth and blocked my breath like seaweed. I imagined her smile in my dreams but then it would fade and she would start to yell "You let your sisters out. If the little children go out you will all be taken away". My mother never yelled at me like that in my waking memories of her. My mother sent more letters about delay and she would soon be back. And she came back a few times to drop off money, and do up my sister's hair and we felt unnaccountably shabby and washed in love. Then she would have to leave back to her job in that other city - which we understood.
The little ones had to hide. They were not allowed to guy outside or people would find out about them, and we would all be taken away from our Mumma forever. The little ones were so good at first, staying inside and coloring or playing with my toys. I let them have my favorite toys formerly forbidden to make them stay quiet and content. Even though they used them in strange ways, stuffing playdough in holes or stacking up CD's to make small buildings and mountains to walk their little animals over. As the weeks passed it was harder and harder to keep them inside and so our schedule changed.
At night we could all go out and walk to the park or just roam around the streets to see where each led. The area of our city where we lived was large and impersonal enough that no one noticed the oddness of us. We were becoming such self sufficient children, only used to each other and un -used to adults and other children, that we would lie unhesitatingly in conversations with people in parks. Gradually our schedule arranged itself to avoid all normal day people. We started sleeping later and later in the day so that we could play and walk outside at night when no one else was around.
Becoming separate from everyone who was one of us was a gradual process. At first my friends came over daily as I reveled in my freedom from school and ability to host marathon video game sessions. The younger children didn't know how to contact their friends and neither did I so it was always my friends getting lied to that my mother was sleeping at her boyfriend's or late at work.
That changed as the apartment changed. One day I walked by the school, wanting to enter and knew I would not have anybody over anytime soon. They had quit coming anyway when we hid and stayed inside during the last period of no electricity since I was ashamed to let them in.
Before my mother didn't come home the last time my littlest sister died. She did. Alone that day. Stretching tall on the chair her bare legs tan beneath her light blue too tight dress. She stood on her tiptoes and the chair wobbled and she fell. We found her like that when we came home the patch of sun lying on her leg. And when we tried to put her in the suitcase to take her out of the apartment one last time -" she doesn't fit anymore" my sister said.
All that was is gone. There was a whole row of places we all went to after that apartment. And now I am sitting here on this date, so ready to have a good date and fall into that first kiss that might just open like a flower and we will be falling onto the bed; and with all the good will in the world sliding into this woman whose legs attract me. She smiles at me and it seems to be a calculating smile. I know I don't really have much of an idea of who she is but I know she likes me. It is a random encounter for both of us and we are both beautiful people. "We had a good time", I say.
** comment- to people who might read this who know me and notice this doesn't quite fit into normal blog routine of chat about June and Marie. I kind of think of this blog as just a place to write anything I want to so there is no theme to my blog at present ! (other than amuse myself). this is like a movie in my head that starts on a date with a cute guy and and a overdressed woman and kind of casual flirtyness between them and she ask a banal question about his childhood as she flirts with him under the table... and he said says ' we had a good time" as he thinks back to his childhood when the family was abandoned by the mother in a very gradual way and things fell apart but they were utterly free and also had some very good times. ( based on a true story). (so he's saying a simple truth and lying answer because his childhood is just crazy and its just all lie and all truth what he says).
- so its a mini story of something very long and like half present (like I think of it as a book. but I am not going to write it, and this would be a summary of a big long book- there's more in there). The woman and the man are kind of 2 people using eahc other . Him: Back then in the past he is very pure and kids just struggling to survive and he is a very good kid and in charge of everything- feeding siblings and lying to them about their mom. And now he is just grown up and just a bit lost (and good looking.. lol.). She; just incidental to be part of the scene. to be beautiful and to be like that random date you go on where anything can happen and ;you went " hmmm, what shall I make happen?" ( in a way like that or depending on the age, situation etc. maybe it wasn't so concious... ;)