Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Character Sketch: H.

H.
is unfavorably humble.
He has all the things to please a woman, except the looks and know-how. H. is rich but obese. He lets his pin-straight dirty blond hair grow past his shoulders into a greasy split-end mess. He sleeps all day and wakes up just before night fall.
H. is an avid reader and he looks down his pointy nose trying to play the piano. He can hear the pitter-patter of a pair of feet above his head that belong to the girl of his dreams while he plays Beethoven. When his chubby fingers clank two keys at once he grows frustrated and moves to the couch. There he will eat entire bags of potato chips with tubs of sour cream and chive dip, an entire bucket of chicken and finally he reaches for the pint of soft Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey--then slurps it slowly. All the while watching reality TV; on any given night H. will see the face of Derek at least six times. H. obsesses over his chisseled features, his pointy nose, his abs that go on and on. He wants to be Derek but without the humilation. H. watches the elimination dating game show and Derek's skin is more tan than usual and H. focuses on Derek's eyes, there's something more than nothing there tonight, some sort of aching and H. thinks he can understand it. He thinks, "We've both given up on something far greater than ourselves." The TV screen acts as a mirror when H. looks into Derek's eyes.
Then H. hears the creak of the stiars outside his apartment. He heaves himself up and waddles to the peep hole just in time to see Breanna saunter by. H. breathes her name into the door.
When H. was younger his father called him a tub of chub, then fatty and finally just useless. All the while his mother left him cupcakes on the counter and whole roasts in the oven for dinner. She would rub H.'s hair flat on his head and say, "Shhh, I know, it's okay," when she found endless bags of cookies under his bed. "I won't tell your father this time," she would say.
When H.'s father left for a business trip and never came home. A month shy of H.'s 18th birthday, he answered the phone to a woman crying. She said his father had been swept under a current and after a three day search he still hadn't been found. H. pushed the hot slice of pizza further in his mouth, then began cooling it by blowing air out and sucking the cool back in. This woman said, "I'm sorry." And H. said, "He never loved me anyway." And she said, "I'm so sorry." And she said, "I'm pregnant." And H. said, "I don't care." And she said, "You were going to be a big brother." And H. said, "My father wouldn't have loved it either." And she said, "Then I'm not sorry anymore."
So H. became a millionaire that day and now does nothing. He gets his food delivered and his laundry picked up once a week. Even then, he won't mutter but a little thank you.
Every morning before he goes to bed, he puts crumbs out on his fire escape and waits to watch the pigeons feast. Thinking that it won't amount to much, but at least he's giving something. He lies, thinking about not wanting to spend forever there and when he wipes away the tears he closes his eyes. H.'s body aches in his sleep, his breathing slows and he wakes up in a cold sweat, feeling worse than death.
He topples off the bed and crawls to the phone, without pride he dials 911. His heart attacks his body. H. recovers for months and months after his open heart and plastic surgery and lipo suction in a room with a beautiful woman in a coma. Finally, he walks out of the hospital a different man. A little less unfavorable. H. set out to gain some know-how.

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