48.1 - Winter 2019

Page 65

my house. An archive for posterity of what the dream team ate, and the weapons they made in 2016, after they climbed out of my garden and tumbled into the next game of chase, or handlebar bike rides, or open palm slap battles. Life moves on. The older boys play basketball between our houses. The girls dance it out to Nicki Minaj or Lil Wayne. Uncles drink 40s after work. The little ones play house and hide-n-seek. Pal continues to flip me the bird every day for a year, as he grows steadier on his feet. Pal—the Baby, I call him when I describe him to my friends—is committed. I’ll give him that. Committed to extending his wet arm straight out at me. Tough as he might. Lately, as the days grow longer, his skin, his arm, his finger are blazing jewels covered in sticky sweet blue goo from Snoballs, in the street of late April, under the wide-open sun. Some days I try to be adult, strict. I say, Why are you doing that, Pal? Look him square. He runs off. On my worst days, I mutter What did I ever do to you? With my nose to the wood, forcing open the door’s swollen edge with elbow and hip, feeling sorry for myself. Pal’s finger is remodeled homes and the water line at the bottom of a 1980s Professor Longhair Jazz Fest Poster hanging in my friend’s bedroom down on Bartholomew. It’s the body burning in an abandoned car by the river. It’s not being able to spell your own name. It’s how I can remember a time when I couldn’t spell my own name. It’s color blindness and how color blindness makes me question how any of us know what’s real, how any of us make sense of patterns and symbols and hand gestures at all. 56 | PHOEBE 48.1