“A Boy’s Complaint”
They do this every year.
They say it’s the oak trees. It’s the ragweed. It’s the mumble-mumble. They say a lot.
And then they look at me with their red, demon eyes.
They blow their noses like tsunamis.
They cough. So loudly. Endless coughing. I hear them at night too. Bark bark bark. Pause. BARK. Why are they tensing up at my screams? Don’t cough and I won’t scream.
I know they’re sad that I don’t want their hugs. Their breathing isn’t right. I’ll wait till they’re done with their violent attacks of noise.
They give me those resigned looks when I ask to go outside. I have work to do. I have to count the sidewalk cracks. Make sure there aren’t any new ones. I have to ride on the highway and watch the power lines blur. I have to flush toilets familiar and new, and watch the water swirl.
Hop to it, Drippy. And bring the car keys.
Oh, I know that I have demon eyes too. My mom took a picture to show me once. I only knew it was me because my eyes looked as bad as I felt.
I know my nose is dripping too.
And my own coughs are making me scream too.
But it’s always more annoying when my parents do it.