What do you say to a room full of people, family, but strangers now that the person who knew you better than yourself is gone?
I used to play the piano. She’d sit and watch from the stairs or the couch. Sometimes next to me on the bench, but she was always there.
The house was messy, but lived in. It was home. And I’d find her on the couch, tired, but refusing to shut her eyes. Just a weekend home, but it was those few times she lived for. But I was always leaving.
I come back now and there’s nothing. Rooms empty, walls white. Just a house that should have burnt to the ground long ago. I sit down to play and look behind me, but she’s never there. Upstairs no song echoes, just the sound of trees at night clawing at my window.
It was Mother’s day when he called. Found her cold, enveloped with water. I can’t use the bathroom anymore. Haven’t since she finally closed her eyes. I only sleep with eyes open, hoping she’ll wake me.
I could have said that.
I was 7, watchin’ some Mickey Mouse show on full blast, coverin’ my ears, but I could still hear her screamin’. Hear the dishes break as he threw her at the cabinets, the wood bend and snap. [pause] The floorboards creaked beneath my feet as I slipped from my room. He lifted her like-like King Kong did to the woman he loved. [laughs] Who am I kiddin’? Love? He didn’t love her. Only enough to leave black and blue marks over her heart and a kiss of death on her cheek. [pause] I sneaked over to the set of drawers in the kitchen, barely tall enough to see into them and grabbed the longest knife and I ran at him. Ran fast and hard. The knife dug deep as I twisted it. He dropped her and flipped around, surprised. He peeled me off and tossed me aside like a used napkin- trash he wanted nothing to do with, but I had won. He fell down and stared up, helpless. [pause]
He was my first. And then the numbers grew. I killed all them you said I did. But, it wasn’t the power that came with it I was after. Don’t get me wrong, it felt good, like holdin’ lightenin’ in your hand, but it was the breath that came after they fell that made me do it again and again. Mighty tyrants taken down and out of the shadows a breath. A sigh of relief from the powerless. Once I heard my momma and that sigh, I had a mission. I was gonna clean up the world, become a superhero. [laughs] You know, that’s the mind of a kid, superheroes don’t exist, but if they did I’d be one. Like the boy that climbs up the tree to deliver the cat to the smiling old woman below. That’s what I did. I took away evil and delivered freedom. Or somethin’ like that. I don’t wanna preach here to you, but I saved more lives than I took.