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September 25, 2017 Fiction


Reggie Mills

Raindance photo

Months ago. Here it is me at the grocery getting flowers and deli meats and here’s the little boy with his face soft and fluffy and pink. I go right in for it and squeeze his cheeks with my finger, and by smiling right wide I can get him to do his little smile too. This feels like a success. His mother is here pushing the cart from behind, and she says his name is Georgie. Little Georgie, my boy in blue.

I have a boyfriend though the status between us is always shaky. He says I am insane because I like knowing what he does. Our txt messages are both visceral and cool. He says I am too much to handle sometimes, I am. I have put my life and limbs and blood into our relationship and then some more, and still he thinks I always take. He weans and he waves and it drives my heart in wobbles and shakes.

Then since the day when I saw Georgie while buying flowers and deli meats these items began reminding me of him.

Part of me is afraid of personal intimacy so I am sometimes defensive and rude. As a day job I am a daycare assistant at a reputable daycare in the suburbs. With my coworkers I use fat irony to defer vulnerability and truth. Georgie at this time is six months too young for daycare but in anticipation I shoot his mother a postcard saying, We wish you will join our family.

There is a person I work with at the daycare who I want to get closer to, whose name is E. There is also another person I work with whose name is C and whose skin is thick. To ally myself with E I resolve to hark against C, who I know can take it. I make nasty comments and wide snarks against C in the presence of E. Soon I believe E will realize we are both not C and so we’ll be aligned.

In some ways I wish it was six months later. Some days boyfriend picks me up from daycare. Then he plays with the kids and he’s friendly and kind, with the kids he doesn’t know. I tell him why does he treat these kids better than he treats me.

I shed my share of tears. I know to drink lots of water here to avoid dehydration.

Now let me guide us quick. Six months later. Boyfriend and I have been off for a while, though once in a while I shoot him a txt. By this time Georgie is also large enough for daycare, however his mother enrolls him at Clear Morning Daycare instead. I smell my flowers deep and full.

You can get a kid to laugh real swift if you go up and raspberry their belly being like, You’re a silly kid.

Now here I am buying flowers and baby blue rompers, $14.99, $28.99. I am a daycare assistant by day, and some days the sky is bright like life. My name is Penelope. It is a long name and though people like their short-forms I do not. But, if you get to know me just right, I’ll hold back this displeasure so that you can call me Pennie.

image: Tara Wray