(another work in progress–my first fictional piece ever)
Strange how I can still remember the feel and sound of the stroller wheels over the broken sidewalks. Bernie had babysat me since I was a baby, so with this memory comes the image and sound of him—rambling and gentle and always there—a thick, crumpled figure in a blur of summer’s blues and whites.
Bernie had suffered from polio as a child, giving him a limp on the left side of his body. I remember listening to him talk with my mother in our kitchen. Through the streams of smoke from my mother’s cigarettes, I could make out his towering height at the table. He spat out his t’s and licked his hairy upper lip.
“Yeah I’m a catch! No, don’t nobody pay attention to me and that’s just fine. My hair turned white when I was only sixteen.” He smiled at me through ancient teeth. “Yeah, girls never interested me much, ‘course they din’t like me neither. But I think sex, sex is gross. It says in the Bible about Adam and Eve and I just don’t understand that part–that part about the forbidden fruit Eve took, but they musta had sex ‘cause otherwise we wouldn’t be here. My mother, oh my mother she always liked reading the Bible and to go to, to go to church and stuff like that, but I din’t. I never liked church. My sister, Peggy, now Peggy–she always went to church with my mother but told ME that it ain’t true. She’ll burn in hell for that. Where does she think we come from? I just don’t get it. Some people are just so stupid.”
He looked at me as he said, “But you ain’t no stupid kid, are ya, Tony? My sweet little Tony!” He patted my cheek and beamed. I’m certain I was his favorite. Read More