Sunday, November 04, 2007

Crisis Averted

four-year old beauty


hair almost comic book superhero blue in its blackness


huge inquisitive brown eyes, so dark that she appears to have no pupils


her tiny hands pull on the chipped, wooden knob


until the nightstand drawer slides out


revealing a new toy – black and shiny and heavy


so heavy that she uses both hands to pick it up and carry it into the hall


she gallops across the bedroom threshold to involve Mama in her discovery


sweaty and tired the
mother stands at the end of the narrow tunnel that connects the two
bedrooms in their mobile
home


sweaty and tired, she’s been scrubbing floors and at first doesn’t see her toddler


they’d watched a John Wayne movie the day before – a Sunday afternoon family ritual, Daddy loves the Duke


“Shoot Mama, bang-bang!” the child giggles.


Mama doesn’t naturally lean towards calm


instinctually - at this moment – she channels Ghandi or Mother Theresa or some other really patient person


that thing -
in her baby’s hand - is no toy and she knows that there are bullets in its chamber


the too-young mother stands up straight, looks at her pint-sized unknowing life threatener, gulps, takes a tentative step forward and says, “Sweetheart, please give Mama the gun.”


“No, shoot Mama, bang-bang like John Wayne.”


Mama smiles, takes another step (this tiny hallway has never felt so long), “Darlin’ Mama really needs that gun.”


“No, no Mama.
Shoot like John Wayne!”


Mama can’t contain herself much longer, she wants to scream


her legs are quaking and her breakfast is trying to escape her digestive system


slowly she takes 3 more steps toward her smiley gun-totin’ fairy child


embracing the little one with her left arm she grips the firearm with her other hand


the munchkin wiggles out of the embrace and scampers off in search of a new game


the mother melts onto the floor in terror and relief


she is overcome with sobs - she is a ball of emotion on the linoleum


the child is outside swinging around a tree and singing


that evening Daddy empties all his weapons of their ammo and places them on the highest shelves in the tiny tin-can trailer


the child has no recollection of the day she tried to be Jane Wayne


that day that could have changed everything


she does have an overly strong distaste for westerns


and a strangely physical repulsion to guns


their appearance makes her want to run and hide

1 comment:

sarah said...

How chilling...no wonder you want to run and hide! Me too! Gave me goose bumps.