SPOTLIGHT: Our Tiny Little Lives by J.I.B

Television and Oncoming Traffic

You’re a child. Your mother started drinking coffee. The lights are out and the windows are blind. There are things you don’t understand. Your father is asleep on the porch. You eat your breakfast. Get dressed. Watch television. Honor thy mother and thy father. Your mother drinks her coffee in the dining room alone, every morning. Every morning, when your mother drinks her coffee alone, she asks you not to talk. Your mother wants to drive her car into oncoming traffic. You’re a child and you don’t know. Your mother tells you other peoples’ mothers shoot dope. Other peoples’ mothers drowned them in bathtubs. You’re lucky, your mother tells you. You’re a child and you have a problem sitting still. You have a problem not talking. You’re a child and you have a problem. Your father falls asleep on the porch/in the kitchen/in the bathroom/in the backyard/in the dirt/in the mud. In his piss. In his shit. To say he falls asleep is inaccurate. Your father doesn’t sleep. Honor thy mother. Honor thy father. There are things you don’t understand. You’re a child. There’s a television. You’re a child and you watch a lot of television. There are things on television that you don’t understand. You’re a child and you don’t understand most things. Other peoples’ mothers drive their cars into oncoming traffic or off bridges into rivers. You’re lucky to be dry. You’re a child. Your mother tells you that you hardly know anything. You know that. You’re a child and you have a problem. Your mother drinks her coffee alone and wants you not to talk and wants to drive her car into oncoming traffic but she doesn’t. You’re in the car with your mother and she’s taking you to school. You’re a child going to school. You have a problem. Matt Lauer told you someone else’s mother left them in a hot car so long they died. You’re lucky. You’re a child. Your father doesn’t sleep. Your father passes out and your mother doesn’t drive her car into oncoming traffic, so long as she drinks her coffee alone, every morning. So long as every morning you don’t talk. You’re a child with a problem you don’t understand. You’re a child and you understand almost nothing.

A Dead Horse

You’re a child and there’s something wrong. There’s always something. Always crying and never stops talking, the teachers say. The doctors say there’s medication for this, and your mother says nothing. Your mother nods. A horse breaks a leg. Your mothers fills your prescription. Your mother tells you to take by mouth twice daily. On a full stomach only. The horse takes a bullet to the skull. You. A child. There is something wrong. Always something. Wrong. There’s the smell of vomit always and never crying. Or talking. Or sleeping, eating. Or thinking. Nothing. Only fragments. Only vomit and medication and wrong. You were a child who was always crying and never stopped talking, and now you aren’t. You avoid conflict, any cost, the teachers say. The doctors say the medication is working and you’re a child, or you were. You are no longer a child. You’re still taking medication. You’re taking anything given. An empty stomach. You avoid conflict. Avoid conflict. Avoid conflict. You avoid conflict. Avoid conflict. Avoid conflict. Avoid. Conflict. Avoid. Conflict. Until there’s nothing but. Avoid. Conflict. Vomit. Medication. Nothing. Wrong. A dead horse.

7up and Adderall

Carbonated water. Citric acid. Potassium. Corn syrup. Natural flavoring. This combination is supposed to make the vomiting stop. It’s in a glass, sitting on your nightstand. It stopped bubbling hours ago. You sipped it in between dry heaves, until the dry heaves weren’t dry. There’s a mop bucket beside your bed. It’s threatening overflow. You are a child and you talk too much. You have a medical card. You have a t.v. in your bedroom. You watch it in between dry heaves and vomiting. You wait to go to sleep. You watched the glass on your nightstand until the bubbles stopped. The glow of Adult Swim floods the room. Some nights you wait and nothing happens. 7up is supposed to stop the vomiting. Adderall. Active Ingredients include dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate. Inactive Ingredients include colloidal silicon dioxide, compressible sugar, corn starch, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose and saccharin sodium. This combination was supposed to stop the talking. It worked. There’s a mop bucket beside your bed. It’s always beside your bed. Adderall. A medical card. A child that’s always talking. You stopped talking. You can’t talk if your mouth is full of vomit. You can’t sleep if you’re always dry heaving. Can it be called a mop bucket if it’s always full of vomit? You’re a child and you take Adderall by mouth twice daily, on a full stomach. You wash it down with 7up to stop the vomiting.

One of God’s Hideous Lessons
During my last two years on Earth as a child, I suffered a sudden and horrifying transformation. My once disturbed but perfectly terrestrial body was now two separate and distinct specimens. The first and most viable was the bucket of bedside vomit, somehow breathing despite a lack of lung. The second consisted of a brain rotten with Adderall and images of the crucifixion of Christ, the skeleton my muscles once used, what used to be my skin, now like a nursing home blanket, covering something that spends most of its time dying, eyes that are difficult to sleep and impossible to dream with. This is the body they expected me to praise God with and for a while I did. For a while I prayed without ceasing for God’s big hands to come down and mold my two halves back into one. He answered with a deafening and absolute silence. Ultimately these horrid vessels I was drowning in were good for only one thing, teaching surrender.


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