Memoir Preview: The Finger

Note: I’m currently working on a memoir.  I have no idea what form it’s going to take or what part of my life it will cover yet, but I’ve really enjoyed writing it so far.  I thought I’d share one part (which took place when I was in Kindergarten) with you all that I had a particularly fun time writing.  I would love to hear your feedback.

The bugs are crawling. All over and in and out. There’s the ones that are small and grey and when you touch them they turn into grey balls. And then there’s the big beetles, black like berries. And then there’s the worms. Worms all over.

All we do is we pull up the stones in the woods. Me and Kevin. Kevin also lives in my condominium. He doesn’t go to my school. He says he goes to public school and I don’t know what that is and I say I got a nice school. And he laughs but I’m not sure why.

Sometimes, Imma and Abba let me go outside and play with Kevin, and we pick up all the stones and look at the bugs. We found a big rock today. Big and it has all the grey bugs and the beetles and the worms. We don’t even know what to do with all the bugs, so we just look at them. We can’t stop.

The ground underneath the bugs is brown and soft and it seems like a nice bed, a good place to go to sleep and they seem like they have a lot of fun under the rock. Sometimes I wish I had a rock. I could go under and then I wouldn’t worry about toys with knives or Charlie’s laughing at me.

Finally, Kevin touches a grey bug, he calls it a roley poley, and now I laugh cause that’s a funny name for a bug, isn’t it? But he doesn’t laugh, he just picks it up and looks at it, and he smiles. And I smile.

And now we’re walking around the woods and we’re jumping over the logs and climbing the trees and we’re pirates and then we’re police and then we’re bandits, and it’s so much fun. I like to watch the trees as they wave in front of me, and the way they are trying to grab me but they’re too stiff and tall to reach me, so instead I climb up to them and give them a hug. Then, when I’m sitting on them, I look at the sun and how it bounces and moves with the trees, how the leaves make it go here and then there, and the light is bouncing with it and through the leaves, and now they aren’t trying to touch me anymore, they’re trying to touch the sun and so am I and then Kevin says, Elad let’s go play on the boulder and I say okay, because I love the boulder.

Kevin says a boulder is a big rock, but I’ve never seen a big rock except this one, and sometimes I think maybe it fell from the sky like the astoyds Abba tells me about when he reads me his big book with pictures from the sky at night. Then Kevin tells me that’s dumb and so I say okay and call it a boulder and go to play on it, because it’s fun.

Right now, he’s the captain and he’s on top and he’s driving the boulder everywhere, and I’m sitting next to him. But I feel like I want to be the captain and I say it to him, and he says let’s both be captains and I say okay, but really I don’t want to, but now he let’s me sit next to him on top of the boulder and we’re moving and shooting the bad guys and wooooo it’s fun.

Soon we get tired and we say, hey let’s take a rest and we’re laying there on the boulder and we don’t say anything, we just lay down and look up at the sky and the sun and the way it doesn’t dance anymore but instead makes us see purple dots when we close our eyes.

I sit up and I tell him I want to show him something. It’s something I learned all by myself and he’s the first boy I’m showing it to, because now I can’t go to Charlie’s, so I tell him, Kevin want to see something? And he says, okay. And I say, look at this.

I put down my big finger and the finger next to it with my other hand. Then I put down my itty-bitty finger and the finger next to that one, and now I have only one finger up! It’s my middle finger and I’m pretty sure no one can do what I’m doing, I think maybe I could be an acrobat and soon I’ll show Imma and she’ll give me a big hug and tell me what a big boy I am. I practiced for a long time and now I feel so smart and strong and maybe after Kevin tells me how he thinks I am so big and strong I’ll show him my muscles the way I show them to Imma all the time. Oh my gosh! They’re so big, she says. And I smile.

But Kevin isn’t telling me anything. He’s looking at me and he’s not saying anything. His eyes are scrunched up and his mouth looks like he ate a lemon and he puts his hands on his hips. I think maybe he can’t believe how strong I am, so I put my finger right up to his face, right in front of his eyes and say, see, see!

But his face doesn’t change. Instead his eyes get more scrunched and now his mouth moves but it’s still tight and he says to me stop that. And I ask him why and he says, you know why. And I look at him and I look at my finger and I don’t know what to say so I wave it in front of his face and I say don’t you think I’m big and strong? And he says no, he thinks I’m a meanie.

And then he walks home and I follow him the whole way with my finger out at him, hoping maybe he’ll understand this time and he’ll see, maybe his eyes are too scrunched and maybe there’s a lemon stuck in his mouth and he doesn’t get it.

Now we’re at his home and he opens the door and he says, mom! and he puts his hands on his hips again and he waits for her to come.

Kevin’s home looks just like mine but it’s all different. His house is dark and smelly and there’s always smoke in the air. The couches are brown and the carpet is messy. Even his Imma is different.

She comes and she has a cigarette in her mouth. She comes up to the door and rests on it and looks at Kevin and takes out her cigarette and lets out smoke that looks like it came from a chimney and says, yeah, what is it?

Kevin points at me and he says, look! His middle finger! Look!

And his mom looks at me like she is tired and she wants to go play with her toys, and she sees my finger and I point it at her to show her. I’ll bet she’ll see how strong and smart I am! Just like Imma always says. She looks at my finger with her tired eyes and they’re not tired anymore. They turn into balls stuck in scrunchy jackets and her mouth opens like it’s going to eat me. For a second she doesn’t say anything and she just looks at me like that for a minute, just like Kevin did. I’m so confused. I try to stick my finger right in her face, like I did with Kevin, and I wave it around a bit. Maybe she can’t see through the smoke.

You pointing that thing at my, boy? she asks and her voice sounds like the alarm Abba uses to wake up in the morning, like it can cut the sky in half. And I don’t say anything because now I’m scared and I just keep sticking it up in the air. And that just makes her angrier and now she looks like a bull from another book Abba likes to read me, the kind of bull that likes to run at things that are red, that’s what Abba tells me.

And I get scared, and I think what did I do?

Put that thing away kid, before I go tell your Mom. Give you a good whoopin’, that’s what she’ll do, if she’s smart, anyway.

I ask her what a whoopin’ is and she takes a deep breath, but with the cigarette in her mouth and she coughs and the ground shakes like it might explode out from under us.

She says, get the hell outta here and I don’t ever wanna see you doin’ nothin’ to mess my son up again, got it? And she takes a step at me, like maybe she is gonna eat me with that mouth, and I start to shake and I take a step back and she says, go home and I do.

I walk home and I look at the sky and at the rocks and the trees and they are all looking at me and saying , why did you do that? And I say I’m sorry but no one wants to look at me and I feel so alone and I don’t even know what I did. I feel so sorry and so bad and so alone.

I guess I’ll just go home and show Imma my new finger trick. She won’t get angry.