a grown-up because he was allowed now to get his own bowl and pour his own cereal and milk. Mom! Corn Flakes every morning, but he knew a box of Frosted Flakes sat in the back of the pantry. Frosted Flakes were for special days when he was well behaved. Mom! This morning he had dressed himself and got his own bowl. Mom! He wanted Frosted Flakes, that didn't seem like too much to ask for. He walked through the living room, down the hallway, white socks sliding across hardwood flooring like an ice-skater. Mom! Into her bedroom, empty. Back down the hallway to the closed bathroom door. Mom? He leaned his little ear against the door. Mom, are you in there? Yes, Morrison, get ready for school, okay. Seven-years old and too young to comprehend the ache in her voice. I'm already dressed. Good, go ahead and get some cereal, okay." Can I have Frosted Flakes? Yes, that's okay. Is Daddy in there too? Go eat, okay. Mom, I have to go to the bathroom. Not now, honey. Real bad, Mom. Not now, Morrison. Just hold it, okay. But Mom! Just go out back then, sweetie, behind the garage. Seven and eight-year olds gathered at the bus stop across the street and he hurried to finish his cereal. The school bus was coming and he wanted to say good-bye to his mom but she was still in the bathroom and he was scared because he didn't want to miss the bus. He wanted his mom to say good-bye and hug him like she always did. He banged on the door with his little hands and started to cry that the bus was coming and kept asking why didn't she come out and give him a hug. She opened the door just a little, enough to put her hand through and touch him and hold his hand for just a moment. And he peeked inside to say good-bye and he saw the color on her face, almost real red like the color is, crying so hard she had no sound left. He started to cry and she couldn't cry any harder than she already was. She opened the door to grab him in her arms and hold him hold him hold him forever. He looked around the bathroom and back to his mom and he wiped his nose and eyes. Where's Daddy? LIKE MUFFLED WHISTLES. TAT. TAT. TAT. Coming from somewhere he can't see. Even as he repositions himself underneath the burning Humvee to get a better look he still thinks about how hot the sun was. Burning everywhere. Earth and metal and flesh still lingering in the air. He looks down the street and empties his weapon towards the sounds but he can't reload because his extra clips had melted together.
"You were the first person I ever touched." "You mean like this?" Katherine laughed and moved her lips across his neck and her hand across his chest. "You were the first person I ever touched," he told her again, looking into her eyes. 148
The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho