These are the safety rules: don’t talk to strangers, you can get stolen; be careful of plugs and guns, you can get dead. —Sieanna Rae, age 5
My mantra: life isn’t complicated. I repeat this to myself when times get, well,
complicated. Some people listen, others call me names. Yes, there’s still name calling
in your thirties, hell, even your fifties and sixties. My eighty-year-old grandmother called me a “family destroyer”. A little dramatic,
but she is eighty. No, I’m lying, she’s eighty-six now. It’s been six years since she’s talked to me. I noticed right away that she thought
it was me; the one who said the things that put the family in a mood. That’s the
name we use for such occasions—mood.
Hello, I’m moody, and you are?
What I noticed right after I set the family mood was that they were already in a mood.
This mood began long before I entered the room. Take note, there’s always a room
in such situations. A room and a colored mood.
No, no, I’m not adopted. She said she’s my real mother.
I used to dream of heroic feats, of saving my family from certain death. I’d swoop
down from the sky—because every hero flies—and rescue my parents from our burning
house. Or I’d catch a falling car a half second before it crushed my sister. Saving
my brother was a full-time job; his little feet ran him headfirst into trouble every
night for ten years. Can’t say I dreamt of saving my cousins.
Cousins are like toys you never wanted.
I didn’t say what they say I said. I’m certain I didn’t say the second part. Certainly
not the way they say I said it. My cousin heard fourteen tales of destruction. Now
I can’t escape the fourteen drums beating in my sleep. Beating my sleep. dadumdadumdadum.
They sound. They thunder. Dadadadadadumdadadadadadum. Rumble. Roar. Another dead.