Poorly Written Fiction
September 27 2006
I am fourteen and David is twenty-three, in years.
In reality, David is four and I am well into my twenties.
Ever since I can remember, our parents have reminded me daily how different David is. I should never play too rough with him, but I should always include him. I should never mention that Santa Clause isn't real or that the Tooth Fairy bears a strong resemblence to our mother.
I want him to live in the real world, not this world of undisturbed whiteness we've created for him.
I'm a calm person; I don't get angry very easily.
But everytime they lie to David, to "spare" him, it's like my body is filled with this uncontrollable rage.
Like when the goldfish died and our mother told David that he had left to find work in Tibet as a tiger tamer. It was a goldfish, Mom. David didn't even like it. He said it was too slimey and didn't like his hugs. You can't protect him from everything. Why not use those opportunities to introduce him to sadness?
When our Aunt Helen was in the hospital, dying from lung cancer and alcohol poisoning, you didn't have to tell him that she was on a cruise, buying him presents. He was twenty-one. Old enough to buy his own alcohol poisoning, if he felt like it.
Does it make you feel better, Mom? Does it make you feel just a little less guilty? Like maybe if you protect him from all the harshness and hide him away in his little room, it won't matter that you and Dad liked smoke? Liked to drink? Liked to go on crazy "trips" that left you bedridden for days?
Do you think those things won't matter as long as David never knows?
I am the only one truly responsible for David. I'm the one who has his best interests at heart.
I told him about the goldfish, Mom.
He laughed. Said, "Good riddance. He was an ugly shade of orange." Does that sound overly sad to you, Mom?
And when I told him about Aunt Helen, yes, he cried. But he said he wanted her to feel better. Who do you think helped him make that "Get Well Soon" card, Mom? It wasn't you, was it? It was me.
I have a son, Mom. His name is David and he is nine years older than me.
His favourite color is red and his favourite food is popcorn.
His favourite book is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
He wants to go to college.
Did you know any of that, Mom?
Did you ever stop thinking of only yourself long enough to look at him and see who he is?
He wants to go to college. College.
If it weren't for me, he probably wouldn't know his ABCs.
Why were you trying to hold him back?
Why are you still trying to hold him back?
Maybe it's not the guilt. Maybe you're afraid of his failure and how it will reflect on you.
You keep David locked away, hoping no one will know about the ill-formed mind of your son, but he's brilliant.
Yes, he believes in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, but he believes in other things. He believes in love, in faith, in the goodness of people; he believes in things you and I would laugh at.
He told me once that he understands "E= MCÂ²." I'll give you that I don't really believe he does, but he tries. He believes he does.
He looks at Einstein's essays for fun.
He's so much more than you ever wanted him to be. Can't you see that?
I'm begging you, Mom.
Let go of your guilt, let go of your remorse, let go of your jealousy.
Let go of David.
Let him be.
That's all he's ever wanted anyway.
What most of us want, really:
Simply to be.