Upon a Time
Several Perspectives of FAIR L Y Happy TALES
A sharp burst of wind down the chimney sent a blast of soot up into Robert's face, momentarily tearing the young man from his book’s world of swords, sorcery, dragons, and knights. His hands callused by thousands of paper cuts wipe the dark ash from his eyes leaving a finger shaped path of white on the otherwise dirty face. He quickly takes in the surroundings, a battered couch with his stepmother passed out on its faded taffeta cushions. He can make out the snores of his sister from their shared room down the hall. The room his stepmother and father share is empty the door open. He knows his father must be working late again and his stepmother must have stayed up late drinking to greet him, her anger must have battled with the alcohol and lost as she slipped into unconsciousness. Robert took it all in, his suburban prison, and silently called out for some one to rescue him.
Robert and his sister, Sarah, were born as their mother died. The infant Robert remained quiet while his sister cried violently, thrashing her little arms attempting to reach their mother’s still form. These traits remained with them the rest of their lives. Robert hid quietly in the shadows, content with a book while other children found playmates. Sarah obsessively tried to be clean to gain love from their father new wife; she wanted to replace her mother, while Robert just suppressed any need for human contact. One would think that Sarah and Robert would be close being twins, one would be wrong. Robert's habit of spending most of his time reading in front of the fireplace left him covered in soot, and with the nickname cinder boy. This habit also effectively isolated him from his sister because she would not approach him for fear of getting dirty.
Robert would complete his chores for his stepmother and ever absent father and then escape to read. Ever aspect of Roberts life was dulled almost dingy like the ashes he spent his time near, his life lacked luster, or the thing that a coal has the moment it is about to combust. In school, he excelled as long as he did not have to work in a team or speak in public. He evaded gym classes with a forged note from his doctor stating that he could not engage in physical activity or he risked death. When ever questioned on his health the boy would just hack wildly, gasp and claim in a choked voice that he had a respiratory disease.
Life continued as such for many years the boy becoming an awkward young man, and if nothing had changed, he would have surely faded away in to another rather uninteresting person. The end of winter in his seventeenth year of life as one day was nearing its end an older man dressed in a deep mauve suit entered the apartment shared by Robert, his sister, stepmother and father. He was introduced as the great uncle of Robert and Sarah’s mother. Robert felt himself drawn out of his reverie by this peculiar relative. “Hello Robert, you certainly have grown into a handsome young man since I last saw you.” Robert started at those words, the first real compliant he had heard from a non-school official in many years. “T-t-t-han-k you”, Robert managed to get out; he stuttered when he spoke another reason he seldom socialized. “No reason to thank me for the obvious truth, my boy. Yes obvious to anyone you took after your mother in the looks department.” Which caused Roberts face to shot dark red, as well as his stepmothers for reason quite different?
Before he could continue to speak with his uncle, his stepmother found some unpleasant chore to set him to and ushered Uncle Julian, for that was his name, to the guest room. As Robert set off to delouse the family cat he heard his stepmother say to Julian, “Now Julian are you sure you would not prefer to stay at the motor lodge down the street.” To which he replied,” well the furnishings here are at least on par with that fine establishment, and at least some of the inhabitants here don’t look as if they where paying by the hour” as the door to his room closed rather close to the crows feet and red nose of Roberts step mom.
Causes Brian Miller Supports
Out & Equal, for Workplace Equality