The terrazzo floors were cold. It didn’t matter that it was August. And gritty. Sand under my fat-padded little feet. I ran on my tip toes. A plastic bag of cheerios in my right hand. From the kitchen to the TV. Laughing.
The cartoons were on. In black and white.
He sat on the floor. In pajamas, too. Humped over. Scrunched close to the TV. I ran up behind him, behind the plaid flannel shirt and matching shorts, the greasy black hair . And flung myself. Bammm! Laugh! The rabbit ears on the TV matched his hair and for a moment, from the back , I had crashed into a giant Bunny! He made a sound, “hmmmmmppphhhhh”, and scrunched further into himself. He wasn’t fun. But he was here. Sometimes he smiled. Squinted his eyes and smiled. Most of the time, he didn’t.
Mama finished the dishes. Set the coffee cup upside down into the plastic drainer and sighed. “I’m gonna hang the clothes out. Don’t leave the room”. I didn’t know then that living at the beach had it’s drawbacks. We didn’t have a dryer.
“I was only gone a moment” she would later say. She had toted the wicker laundrey basket out the back door into the sandy yard, and just two or three swimsuits later, realized that the clothespins were in a little plastic basket in the house, leftover from the “take the laundrey down” game we had played the day before. She sighed and her barefeet prickled and high-heeled it through the the hot sand and back into the house.
She was horrified.
I stood silently screaming …
In the middle of the terrazzo floor….
The back of his black head, wearing the silhouette of the rabbit ears, never moved. He reached over and turned the volume up……