Monday, 26 April 2010
never grow up by Nirrimi.
"I have a monster living underneath my bed.
He’s made up of burnt frog skin, white-red cobweb veined eyes and a collection of missing pebble teeth. Sometimes we play scrabble.
(The first time he was just a mechanical hum beneath the bowing wooden planks, he was just a faint smell of green and he was just a hot cloud of fog around my lips. It’s the wind, it’s the wind, I breathed. Then he breathed back, heavy and loud and monster-like; AM NOT.)
He always spoke in capitals; MONSTERS ARE MUCH TOO SCARY FOR LOWER-CASED LETTERS, he informed me one night under pink covers. I shined the flashlight into his eyes until they changed colour and he bared his teeth.
He sometimes visits my dreams. The grass turns sickly where he trudges and the woodland creatures whimper and scramble in his wake. WHERE’S MY HUG? He holds his warm monster limbs out, palms snatching me from my happy-ever-after and grins gap-toothily. I manage a chuckle as I buckle in his embrace.
He used to keep me awake with questions- he’d keep me awake with questions that don’t have answers. He’d ask me why, why, why. And my eyelids would cling to my cheekbones in desperate hope of sleep but my tongue would slide across the roof of my mouth with thoughts and sounds.
I held pillows over my eardrums and blared music- but the ringing of his guttural voice forced through all else and looped continually. You’re a bad song, I told him, and he kissed my temples with his sticky fingers.
He knew everything about Tom. He knew about the hurried, mismatched kiss and the tangle of our hands that day and the way he spoke my name and my toes tingled. He knew the way he made my heart and eyelashes flutter and the way he broke my heart. He heard between the sobbing, absorbing my tears with frog fingers, about the way he said goodbye.
I told him I loved him and the lime of his cheeks brightened and his eyes held mine tight and close. I LOVE YOU TOO. He grumbled in the prettiest way you’d expect of a monster. I held his webbed fingers and let my heart thump against them.
DON’T GROW UP, he’d beg from beneath me, on the hard cool floor amongst candy wrappers and comic books. Never, I’d reply, adopting his grin.