Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Rubber Lips/Medicine Lips

The boy climbed out of the car and stood uneasily on a grey pavement under a grey sky. He wore an orange anorak, brown corduroy trousers, and white running shoes. His face was a pale, flushed oval framed by a woollen navy balaclava. The corners of his mouth were smeared with marmite. He stood, apprehensive, almost frozen, until his father ushered him on and then he ran towards the playground.
He ascended the stairs to the cloakroom and went about hanging up his jacket. Before doing this, he noted an Irn-Bru can poised on the banister and thought to himself that he should make sure not to knock it, sending it falling down the edge to where the bottom of the stairs began. He removed his jacket and lunged up toward the clothes peg and knocked the Irn-Bru can and it fell down towards the bottom of the stairs. He glanced over the banister and was horrified by the sight of his teacher coming up the stairs, wearing an icy scowl. He frantically tried to explain the mistake but she reprimanded him and sent him into the classroom.
Lots of people in his class annoyed him. One or two, he was fond of. Maybe a few. During school classes, his hesitancy was somewhat reduced. The teacher instructed them all to remove their jotters from their trays beneath their desks. He couldn’t find his. It was missing from its designated place in his tray. He became startled and tearful. He was eleven years old. Cheryl was sitting beside him, she became aware of his distress and alerted the teacher, who went to locate a new book for him. He felt his eyes welling up with tears; with an effort he froze them. He sunk into a morose despair. Cheryl seemed repulsed.
He didn’t care about Cheryl’s repulsion, he decided, walking home. He hated her anyway. He hated her so much! He sneered and kicked a dead branch. It scattered across the cold street. What did he do when he got home? What did he do when he got home...?
He looked at his books. He looked at his books? No... that doesn’t seem right... I’m trying to recall...
The boy got out of the car and stood, weighted down by a smouldering grey sky. His palms would have been moist with perspiration had the weather been milder. He shivered. The wind annoyed him. The constant grey sky upset him. The cold... it limited him. It was a handicap, a burden. The weather weighed on him, reflected his frayed temperament. His bones were chilled, he moved slowly as if underwater. His energy seeped away in the wind, the violent wind which unnerved him so. Amber street lamp reflected on a grey puddle beneath a grey sky. What a potent image of despair!
His lips were made of rubber. He believed in Santa Claus. He was meek, timid. His wide eyes beamed a beguiled intelligence. A flickering, besot intelligence that was apt to absent from time to time. This caused impatience and frustration in his teachers and parents. How he wished to shrink away from reality.
One day his friend called him on his marmite smeared lips. The boy was shaken by the hostile, sneering manner in which his friend informed him that he always had marmite on his lips. The boy became distant, pensive. He carefully wet his finger and dabbed at the corners of his mouth which were chapped and broken. The schoolbell rang and his friend went on ahead, leaving him docile and bemused, his balaclava shielding him from the chill in the air.
Many seemed to take a cruel delight in tormenting the boy. This was an inconvenience he absorbed wearily, with a sad, distant regret. It was OK, he had his fantasies to take refuge within. His imaginary friends were aliens. He charted out maps of their home planets and gave them outlandish names. Elder Belder, for example.
Satanic mumbo jumbo, er, beers for the workers. Erm.. upset... he was definitely upset a lot of the time.. what a precarious equilibrium of temperament! Not to be indulged... No... Definitely not...
Try and recall that list you made. Wait, you don’t have to, it’s in your anorak pocket...

“OK class, what can we glean from this list?”
Murmurs; futile, self-conscious constructs.
What about the postcards? What about the nurse? These two things spring to mind first, interestingly. The nurse as an archetypal sexual figure, the postcards scribbled with pseudo writing.
The boy had a toy post office set with crayons and postcards and a counter. An odd sort of plaything, on mature recollection. He scribbled undulating lines in different coloured crayon on each card, fantasising that he was writing on them. How mundane. Who cares about this child’s inane attempts at grasping mature pursuits?
An early indication of the boy’s enthusiasm for the written word as well as the typically misunderstood approaches he would take to the art form.
He bumped his head a few times as a child, mainly due to excitement and rambunctiousness during playtime. He was escorted to hospital in the back of an ambulance, a nurse sat with her arm around him. (where were his parents?)
He felt an intensely profound sense of peace, warmth, and protection. And more, something more. Pre-sexual, a sense of erotic electricity was also transmitted from this gorgeous nurse. Almost an out of body experience without being able to see her eyes. Her face is now distant and ghostly.
He lived in a small village by a rail station. In fact the village was named after the station. He played in the woodland and fields around the village and attended the tiny school nearby. There were two handicapped older boys who lived nearby: a deaf mute by the name of Bobby and a mentally handicapped laddie named Alexander. He also had a cousin named Sandy who was mentally handicapped. All three of these people instilled a sense of trepidation within the boy who, by the way, was named Jonathan.
Bobby lived somewhere on the other side of the street from Jonathan. Jonathan had overheard his mother saying that Bobby’s mother objected to the term ‘deaf and dumb’ as the laddie was not dumb. What people meant by dumb was that he was mute. Instead of speaking, he would make inarticulate howling sounds which greatly unnerved a young, uncomprehending Jonathan.
Regrettably, Jonathan and his friend Sean once took it upon themselves to follow and laugh on Alexander, who suffered from perhaps quite severe Cerebal Palsy. Then an indignant woman shouted at them and Jonathan pissed his pants.
Sandy ultimately ended up going to live with a carer. His mother was a neurotic woman, prone to hysteria. She was not equipped to look after him following her husband’s death. Sandy was unable to talk, and uttered similar sounds as Bobby which rendered him quite terrifying to a young, bemused Jonathan.
Jonathan was also afraid of his mother’s mother, who shouted a lot. She mostly shouted at Jonathan’s older cousin Barry, who was constantly mischievous.

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