Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Character Sketch: A.

(first in a series of 26)


is unquestionably average.
Brown hair that is only curly when wet, but fluffy when dry. His eyes, almond shaped with no particular sparkle.
In seventh grade, A. had to take D.A.R.E classes and he asked, "Is an alcoholic always an alcoholic? Even if he's on a deserted island without a corner store in sight. For years and years with lips as bone dry as the rocks under the midday sun." This teacher said, "Yes." That day, A. accepted his mother's lack of hope.
He used to have acne but took that medicine that causes depression in some. He says he feels the same without pimples.
A. had kissed three girls by that time. Well, one was more like CPR, that one summer night he was swept under the current. And One was a "double dog dare" but Leslie, she kissed him behind Burger King when he was 17. Her hair smelled like fries and his fingers greasy from the all-beef patties. After that, the only words she spoke to him were orders.
A.'s mother left his father because his father could never finish anything but a case of beer.
A. put marshmallows in his ears that day and he kind of figured the world was much better if it was muffled. Too bad he had been hungry, so he decided wax wasn't so bad if it coated sugar.
During high school he was asked to join the yearbook staff but he said, "No, I don't want to make a book of memories about this place." And his counselor said, "That's terrible." And he said, "No, it's a lie. " And she said, "Oh good." And he said, "Because if that book were filled with real memories, people wouldn't read it." And she said, "Oh that's terrible." And he said, "They would want to forget."
So, he graduated high school without having joined a single club, without having played a single sport, without dancing or holding hands.
A. went to state college and his roommate, Derek, had dusty blond hair and a pointy nose. This roommate's left arm had a deep dimple in it. He's had it since birth and A. wished he had been stabbed during his amino too. "Why, why?" Derek asked. "Conversation starter," A. mumbled, turning toward the wall.
A.'s favorite food is hot pockets. Every time he burns his mouth he can't wait to relieve the pain with the frozen center. He thinks, "I burnt the top of my mouth today, and now I can feel myself growing back."
At 22, he began taking pictures and drinking whiskey. His mother told him to make sure he can always feel the future on his skin. He worried about his bad breathe and his virginity often but his fingertips were always soft.
One day, he waited for a bus under a bridge and he focused the lens of his camera while squinting from the glare of the sun. Suddenly, a shadow was falling and he clicked. Shame came over him as he heard her hit the ground, real as...real.
Cars stopped and cars honked. People cried and she took a breathe. And took his away.


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