Wednesday, January 26, 2011 |
I stood on my toes to kiss Daniel's lips. He was older and always taller. The razor welts curling behind his knees, snaking their way to the inner thigh of each straight leg are barely visible. If that photo were in colour, the double-edged wounds would show up fiery red as I remember them. Sometimes I reach out to touch their swollen travesty.
My mother once confided that Daniel's father recited poetry to her over the telephone. Before he married his young Irish war bride, she reassured us, the same one in the faded house dress who routinely chased Daniel with a branch from the tree growing outside their back door. Around the house they'd run, Mrs. Odette tiring finally, slowing enough to notice me crouched in the weeds nearby. He's round the front, Mrs. Odette. I'd watch her go inside, then motion for Daniel to come forward. He'd laugh, his eyes wide until she'd appear on the back step, screaming her threatening brogue, Yer fater woil deal wit you, ya young devil! Sometimes, I let her catch him. When I double-crossed, she'd nab his tawny arm, smacking him to circles. Later when he'd complain, I'd remind him that it was better than being strapped by his dad. His eyes would tear up with a ten-year-old's rage and he'd say his daddy never really beat him at all. And that he could have been my dad had my mother liked poetry.