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The Breezeway

Feb 19, 2018 | Memoir

Why don’t I have socks?

I hate getting dressed for school when I can’t find socks.

Breakfast is ready but I can’t find socks.

“Mommy, I don’t have socks.”

“Look in the laundry room. In the round laundry basket.”

Why doesn’t she say she’s sorry?

“I’m going to be late for school. My feet are cold.”

“Get dressed. Then go downstairs and find your socks. I’m making you breakfast.”

“I don’t like putting on my pants without socks. My toenails get caught.”

“Cut your toenails.”

I used to walk the dog in the morning but only to let her pee. It wasn’t fair to make me walk the dog long enough for her to crap.

The dog crapped on the linoleum floor before I came home from school.

We got into a family fight over this and my mother forced me to see a psychologist.

She loved psychiatrists and psychologists. She loved all doctors—most.

I’m the first one home from school. The house stinks. I clean up the dog’s crap. I take her out to pee. Then I lie on the living room carpet, as I do every day; I lie at the dog’s favorite spot, next to the front door. In the sun. I pet the dog and stare at the great oak across the street marveling how nothing’s changed in years. The tree. The dog. The carpet.

Nothing changes.

Ruminations interrupted by the distant thud of a closing car door.

She enters from the breezeway.

The metallic screen door from the driveway raps softly.

Keys jangle outside.

Keys on the large ring with the owl attached.

Jangling keys dropped on top of the reupholstered chair in the den.

You never forget the sound of your own mother’s voice.

She gets into her housecoat.

Carries up the laundry I left in the basement.

She bends over and I turn away to avoid seeing the missing breast.

The desk is in the den.

No one uses the living room anymore.

We use the den.

We walk through the den.

The dog craps in the den.

You reach the den from the breezeway.

Before the surgery, I cried because I knew she would be become disfigured.

As if the worse thing in the world was having a disfigured mother.

I eat cookies and gulp down a glass of chocolate milk.

I leave the glass on the desk in the den.

No one uses the living room anymore.

We use the den.

You reach the den from the breezeway.

(Go to accompanying Audio Companion on Soundcloud below)


1 Comment

  1. Randy

    The memories that float around in your head of childhood are interesting. When you mentioned the owl keychain I recalled your moms love for all things “Owl”. She collected Owl trinkets, am I right? Didn’t realize the responsibility you had for the walking of Toffee. Our dogs used the trap door, they rarely ever got “walked”, which now that I look back was weird.


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© Richie Smith 

© Richie Smith