Saturday, 18 July 2015

Who Is This?

It's fun prowling around in our attic. Especially on a hot, quiet sunny morning when no one is around. Today was the perfect day for exploring but I made sure to bring a fan along while hiking up the steep narrow stairs. Yes sir it was hot, really hot in our southern Alabama home but like I said a great time to discover things.

Well, sure I did tell my Mom I was going to straighten out my old school papers and maybe even throw a few out. After all she had been pestering me for weeks to get after it, and well, I guess it's about time. I saw a bunch of slightly wrinkled workbook pages on one of the trunks and pushed them aside. They were from grade four, for Pete's sake, and maybe even earlier. Why in the world did I keep them anyway?

The trunk was an ideal place to spy on our quiet suburban street. Neighbour What's --His- Name Jones had his sprinkler going and a bird call floated through the air. I saw Mrs. Markson with her two little toddlers in tow coming home from grocery shopping; that reminded me of what I was supposed to be doing.

I picked up the work sheets and started reading, laughing occasionally at my childish comments from long ago.

About the time I heard a boyish voice holler "Come and let's place baseball," I realised that the perspiration was beading on my forehead, around my collar, and making my eyes sting. This was a good time to get that ole fan running. I opened the attic window as far as possible and the electric fan traded places with me on the trunk in front of it.

 Immediately things started happening. Whoops! Away flew my elementary grade papers and I dashed after them. They weren't the only things that got stirred up though. Dust bunnies were bouncing all around and guess who started sneezing? After things calmed down a bit, I grabbed all my papers and was about done stuffing them into a big green garbage bag when something caught my attention: something I had never seen before.

There stuck part way under the edge of a cardboard box of chipped, discarded dishes was a strange picture. What in the world? That was my Mom alright, but I sure didn't recognise the pic. The background was of some lake or ocean but that isn't what caught my attention. It was who Mom was holding and was holding on to her. It was a dark skinned kid like me but it was not me. What in the world? What in the WORLD??  The date said 1998 and I'm pretty sure I had been about that size way back then.

"Mom!"  I shrieked, nearly falling flat on my face as I tore down those ridiculously narrow and rickety stairs. "Mom! Mom! Who in tarnation is this?"

Mom's arms were up to her elbows in bread dough, she stared at me for a bewildered instant, snatched the old and faded photograph, and wailed something I couldn't understand. I reached out and hugged her but she reacted as if burned and ran sobbing from the room.

I slouched on the unpainted front steps with my head in my hands. There was a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think I knew the answer.