The life of a circus act.

24 Jan

I was born.  Over the years, this has widely been considered a bad move.

Like any other infant, I was thrust from my place of warmth and comfort into a cold world where a stranger stuffed something up each of my nostrils, then down my throat.

I’m sure it was degrading, but I have no memory of anything before I was three or four.  No, I saw the video.  I saw the video at least two dozen times too many.  I’m quite familiar with each wrinkle of my newborn dick, sadly.  I would recognize it immediately, because the camera focused on it with shaky excitement any time I was on screen.  I have only a vague idea that I was born bald and toothless.

Throughout early child, I probably lived pretty well.  As I said earlier, I have no memories save those in photo albums and home movies, which are filled with adorable crap anyway, until a person notices how twisted my face becomes as time charges forward like a reckless yak.

Eventually, my face began to look like it belonged in that movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  My forehead was lumpy on one side, and my nose was naturally bent.  One ear was larger than the other, and one eye was both larger and lower than the other.  My body matched, and became more hunched and twisted.  Either way, I was skinny as a rail, and though I walked with a limp, that was fine by my childhood self.  As a home-schooled kid, I never thought I was different for it, until my younger siblings were born.

I was five when my brother was born.  He grew into a normal boy.  When I was seven, mom gave birth to a little girl who was not only born with hair and a few teeth, she was born blonde.  She was wrinkle-free and cute.

In the beginning, the three of us played together constantly.  Time moved on, and they were sent to public school.  I began to think I was different.  Repeatedly, I asked my mom why I couldn’t go with them.  She told me that it was up to my dad.

When I asked Dad, he told me I was home-schooled because I was a freak.  He took me to the bathroom and made me look into the mirror for what felt like ages.  He pointed out my every flaw, before he dragged me to the hallway and showed me photos of my siblings. “They’re perfect.  You aren’t.  They’re normal.  You’re a freak.  Get used to it.” He walked away from me as I cried.  It felt like I was broken in too many places to fix, and the pain never went away.

I stopped smiling.  Mom got worried and took me to a psychologist, who gave her plenty of drugs to shove down my throat.  She demanded natural remedies, and the doctor told her several things that I couldn’t hear.  She spent over a hundred dollars on my pills alone that day, and I don’t remember anything at all from that point, a day in January, until Christmas, when I found out Mom was weaning me off because she was scared of permanent brain damage.

Mom quickly became my favorite parent, after that.  When she became ill, I neglected my studies in order to help take care of her, because Dad worked all day.  On my fourteenth birthday, she finally recovered after several worrisome weeks and nights when I was scared to leave her side.

The next day, she died suddenly while in the middle of preparing spaghetti-o’s for the two of us.  I never saw a person die before, and for several long moments, I just stared at her fallen body.  She fell so quickly.  I tried over and over to wake her up, and called the emergency line for help.  They said she was dead before she hit the ground.  Several days passed, and I went through another memory gap as Dad put me back on the drugs.

When I came around next, I was several years older, and two strangers stood on either side of me.  The first was a stunningly pretty woman with only the barest of age lines.  The other was a kid who looked like Dad. “Who are you?” I asked as I looked around. “Why am I in a hospital?” I felt disoriented, but calm.

The woman gasped, and tears welled in her eyes. “You don’t remember anything, do you?”

“I remember my dad shoving pills down my throat the day before my mom’s funeral, as well as plenty before that.” My voice sounded deep. “Why does my voice sound so strange?”

“Oh dear… Lenny, it’s been five years since your mother died.” Her voice was calm. “You don’t remember anything past that?  Anything at all?” The hurt in her eyes was deep, and I immediately felt that same sensation from so far back, when my dad pointed out every flaw in me.

I hung my head and managed to say that I was sorry.

The kid spoke up. “Does this mean Lenny doesn’t know that I’m his brother anymore?”

I blinked and turned to look at him. “I only have one brother and sister, last I knew.” I frowned.  My mind began to clear. “Dad remarried?”

The woman nodded. “I’m your step-mother.  You’ve been calling me Mama for the past five years.”

Five years…  If it was also five years since mom died, that meant dad remarried quickly.  I felt ill. “Was Mom that disposable?” I managed.  My voice caught. “Didn’t he love her?”

The door opened, and I saw Dad. “He needs his rest.” he said firmly.  Obediently, my step-mother and step-brother left the room.  Dad looked at me with a glare that told me to suck it up, then shut the door to the hospital room.

So, I waited and wallowed.  My step-mom sent me flowers and presents, and she visited often, and the hospital staff helped me write her a letter, because my hands were too shaky.  I begged her forgiveness for not remembering her, and told her that she was a wonderful woman, to still love someone like me even though I forgot her.  I told her I loved her and my step-brother dearly, and thanked both of them for being so kind to me during my hospital stay.

I was stuck there for months.  I was put in physical therapy and given a psychologist.  I forced myself to recover quickly.  I had no idea how much the bill would be, and didn’t want to upset Dad by costing him too much.

The doctors were shocked at my progress, and I was interviewed by a reporter and told I was strong and had a lot of spirit.  It sounded like the jerk expected me to lay down and mope because I was a broken person.  I kept my peace and gave him the sap-story he wanted, though.  As my recovery continued, I began to take an interest in current events.

My brother graduated high school early.  My sister had top marks in everything and was already a senior.  I found out Dad and my step-mom were each independently wealthy.  Technology made lots of advances, and the new president was strange-looking, but always smiled.

After I was dispatched, I got a job at a local store and saved up enough to get a shitty little house.  I fixed it up. I earned my GED.  I applied to many colleges.  I worked on getting my life on-track– which included weekly visits to my family.

My brother and sister were cruel to me, as was Dad, but Mama was kind and patient, and my step-brother always ran into my arms and demanded we play games together.

For a while, life was really nice, right up until the divorce.

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Modern Fiction


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