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  • Writer's pictureSally&Mike McCarley

Banana-lovin' Boy

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

I wrote this in 2000. I post it somewhere every year:

Banana-lovin' Boy

Music lovin' child, so much wonder in your eyes. How can anyone with such an atrocious background find delight in anything? I feel myself waking. The humidity always makes the air hard to breathe, kind of like breathing underwater. I'm used to the dusty smells of the mosquito netting tickling my nose but the smells of the bougainvillea, the grassy smells, those green smells rising off the rapidly heating earth are a welcome to the "late in the day, fresh-urine-rotting-vegetable-peelings-warm-caribou-blood-smells." The city is barely moving--very few sounds are rising at this hour and though I am not conscious of being up high, even in a semi-conscious state I can feel these things rising. The sheets are no longer crisp but crumpled, damp. I startle awake, adrenaline pumping: I can feel it exploding through every cell. My eyes pop open. Black eyes are willing me awake--no sounds, no touching, just looking--willing, straining. His big, black eyes sparkle with excitement to know I am awake. This child who had had such atrocities done to him--things polite people would never speak of in public is awake before anyone else. He has escaped his Moses basket looking for pleasure. this broken, pigeon-breasted child with the distended belly, this sewer boy with the flat head from being left for months on end in one position. This banana-lovin' boy has no reason to get excited about anything in life. But, he is. His excitement is so evident; his unwilling legs drag behind as he pulls himself on rapidly increasing muscular arms to the stereo; the "mussentouchit" that he never does--except with those big black eyes. He stares, wanting me to turn on the music with everything he has, willing the music and the lights as strongly as he willed me awake--and I obey. I roll my obese, muddled unshape to the end of the bed. Every roll is already sweating, ponderous, hard to move such fat so solid that I barely jiggle. His eyes break concentration on the stereo only long enough to glance obscurely, discretely my way, hoping, making sure I am coming. I untuck the netting and crawl out of the bed, my belly dragging the ground, my gown catching under my round , bulging, barely bending knees. I reach for the buttons--he glances one more time, posed, excited and waiting. As I start the music of the day he relaxes, his small disjointed frame is less tense and those big, black, now sparkling eyes watch the lights of the stereo as the melodies float through the heated air, heavy-laden with the smells of the city.

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