Gunshot and the thud were the memories I had and what ran through my head most nights when I saw it like an action movie. There was no mother, my father had hit the floor and his eyes were screaming and staring at me yelling something, so loud. I didn’t speak that language though.
Most nights I couldn’t sleep and I got older and I thought as I aged more and more about that thud and decided, it must have been sometime around my 12th birthday, I’d kill the gunman someday and everyday after that I planned how I’d kill him. But that wasn’t it, some nights the moon was strong and I felt hot in my wrists and the pounding in my cheek muscles would loose I’d be thinking how I couldn’t. Thinking I’d stop- thinking I’d make a family and it’d go.
I was 18 later my hands shook so I always kept them moving and I’d begun to look for where he lived. Off to college I went.
22 and I’d found him and I’d moved out from college and was living in a rat apartment with a girl who’d left a while back but I didn’t know when. The clouds were always up and my wrists weren’t hot no more but because they couldn’t. Her kid was on the floor and he looked just like me and I hated it. I’d sit with him for hours and build things and watch him break them down and build them again over and over it was numbing and I lost track of time. I went out.
It wasn’t raining and the moon was out that night only and I saw across the sound the other side of the city and my old house was somewhere within the lights. I walked because I had nothing else going on and walked for a long time. It was in my sweatshirt pocket and it was heavy and the metal rust came on my fingers and made them taste like iron.
I sat and stared at the house and it could’ve been forever I sat waiting for something to happen, anything that could pull my eyes from the door.
I was with him and staring at his face so young he’d do wonderful things if only he could be so sweet like this forever. I kissed him and then the door broke down.
Shouting and he was standing just there his face reflecting blank to me- was he surprised? The spring was so heavy once I pulled and pulled and then the ground shook and the ring went out.
I hit the ground and there was the child. His face was speckled and I looked at it and couldn’t help but hate it for doing this.
I screamed at the baby- how could he! I didn’t know! A father!
It was getting dark and the lights of the city were glowing and I went out into the dark with nothing to think. My hand to the handle they didn’t shake no more and my wrists were cold and the moon so bright and the house so quiet.
The baby cried and I didn’t understand. My eyes shut.
I sat for nights there- the house grew cold. The blood was warm for a time and then it wasn’t. The day there was sun and the night I lay near the moonlight to see. I was alone.
Time went and so did I and with it others said I looked taller. I thought of it often and too much even and the nights I felt myself return to that floor laying with the blood around me and wondering just who I was to be.
Some days the blood pushed and my jaw felt loose and that was all I needed, some days my face was drained and my jaw rigid and I had nothing and no one except in my head who kept killing.
I looked across the sound to the campus, I looked at my shaking hands. It was never so easy you know. I took the long train line that went under the city.
I looked at the cloudless sky and wondered without answer and only love and hate wound like a rose if there was an end. It could have been a lifetime I sat watching or a minute and I had not a decision or a choice or a word but a will. And so it had came to the 12th year and the moon had replaced the cloudless sun and I knew.
I was that baby on the floor until the day I decided I’d kill the gunman.