Death of a Moth

that year was not my best. my grades were never high, but that year they were particularly low.

my parents started out worried. that quickly became angry when my teachers kept calling them into school.

they always told me i was a problemed kid, but my only problem was them.
they never listened to what i said.
they always insisted that i say what they were listening for.

but i didn't.
i couldn't.
so, they never heard me.

grades didn't mean much to me, still don't. but they meant a lot to others. and it was others who called the shots.
special education programs.
even reform school.
but never to their satisfaction.

i had never had much luck with making friends, and my constant reprimands and relocations didn't help very much. the only true friend that i can remember was this one girl.

i used to call her Maudlin,
except her real name was Stacey.

she didn't like me all that much, but she'd put up with me.

my problems didn't bother her. she said she had problems of her own.

she cried when i told her that my moth had died.
she took it worse than i did.
she said that death scared her.

she lived down the street from me. her house was the weirdest looking one on the street. it was new, while all of the other houses were old. especially mine.

she never cared, but i liked the feeling of her house: it didn't seem so monstrously old.

for a while, i wanted to burn my house down. even, for a while, to burn all of the houses down -- except hers.

i figured i could live in her house. i guess i always figured i would, some day.

some days, i pictured her as my wife...
but i did not know all of the things a wife did and i was sure she didn't want to cook and clean for the rest of her life.

as i grew older, i learned more.

we talked about marriage occasionally, but neither of us had enough malleable dreams, and so we always ended our talks in full-blown arguments.

and so,
in a way,
i guess we were almost married. and that was as close as i've ever come.

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Matte Elsbernd
copyright © 1995