The New Everywhere
There are remnants of the stick inside the boy. They came off of the end of the stick yesterday, when the other boy took it out of him.
He doesn’t quite know this as he separates himself from the rest of the kindergarten class and enters the little one-person bathroom attached to the side of it. When the lock on the door catches, he thinks, “No one in the world knows what’s happening in here.”
The light in the bathroom is dim, dirty yellow. There is a small mirror and a small sink. The toilet bowl doesn’t have a tank–just a flush handle connected to crooked pipe that goes into the wall.
Still, there is always the feeling of wanting to stay here, in this bathroom.
It’s a bad place, but the end of the day is such a long way off, and after five minutes inside, it feels as though the little bathroom is all there is.
When she was very young, she had a yellow blanket that she took to bed with her every night. As she fell asleep she would hold the satin-trimmed edge of the blanket between her upper lip and her nose, running it back and forth gently there, having learned its creases and subtleties like an alphabet.
Once she spilled a glass of water on the blanket and draped it over the radiator to dry. By the time she remembered to check on it, most of it had burned. The corner that was left was not much bigger than a napkin.
People are always asking her, “What happened to your blanket?” “Why don’t you ever use it anymore?”
But there’s no point answering them.
She’d rather wait for someone to dig through the chest of winter clothes in the spare room looking for something else and find it there.
Her boyfriend walks in wearing just his white socks, looking somewhat fatter. He bends awkwardly to take the socks off, trying to praise her purity with a long speech.
She covers her side and for a moment wishes that she’d agreed to this months before or not at all.
She tries to remember the word for that.
The shades are drawn, but it’s still sunny in the room.
In her nostrils there’s an old aspirin or liquor smell; the odors in this house always leave something slightly transformed.
Everything that happens here carries the weight of a solid object.
You leave feeling a cool disconnection between this and that.
I don’t know why I am shaking this gift and listening to something small bump against the insides of the box. I can tell by the way everyone is looking at me that I will never understand the properties of what it is. Whatever is in there may in fact be getting smaller, and if I had to guess right now, I would say that inside the box is a single crystal of sugar, even though a moment ago it felt and sounded heavier than that.
Now I am almost ready to open it up and I suspect that if it is indeed a crystal of sugar I will be expected to eat it right away in front of everyone.
And if that’s the case, I worry if, somehow, it’s been poisoned.
I am entering the through the same door I have used every time I have come into a house.
It doesn’t matter which house it is; it’s always the same door.
Once I am inside my body feels light and even though it is late I pace around the rooms
looking for something to do.
I clear my throat, “Mhm.”
I switch the light on and off.
I wait until the last possible minute to find my bedroom.
When I get there I find the door to my room ajar and see that someone other than me is in there.
I get undressed, and when I slip into bed, I am not even sad.
I feel connected by invisible threads to the outside world.
John Colasacco's recent books are Antigolf (CCM) The Information Crusher (Spuyten Duyvil) and Two Teenagers (Horse Less).