“Talk to Me, Nanna”
A to his father:
I screamed the whole evening. When I’ve made you tired, I can tell. You don’t finish your sentences and your tickling becomes not very ticklish. I keep saying your name so that you’ll have to say mine, and maybe then you won’t fall asleep or drink any tea or work on your computer. I want you all to myself. Does that make you tired?
When I screamed, I could cover up the sounds of you having dinner, and talking to everyone else, and putting away groceries. When you checked on me, I screamed in your face and let some snot bubble up so you would know I was really not going to let it go. When Amma talked to me, I wailed, so her always melting heart would hurt like my throat was starting to. Did that make you feel awful?
You still took care of me, but your mind was on things not related to me. That made me feel lonely so I screamed on. When I finally got tired, you came and kissed me, and my feet flew me off the bed. It was too much and not enough, but time to sleep. I make myself tired all the time. Did you feel sad that I was such a mess?
I don’t think about you much when I’m at school. Does that make you scream like me?
Nanna to A:
You are often the first and last person I talk to every day. You are my heart. Your sparkly eyes and toothy smile are imprinted in my head, and pop up even when I am teaching, to make me laugh at inopportune moments.
Yes, you make me tired. And yes, it makes me feel awful. And yes, I feel sad. And yes, I feel like screaming. Yes, and yes, and yes, and yes.
Your screams are like dentistry without anesthesia.
I know you want me all to yourself. Everyone else is a nuisance. Work is for losers. I wish you could be content with the hours I just spent with you. But you want the contract renewed every hour.
Your irrational demands fill me with exasperation and love. You’re underfoot, over the top, in my face. You’re perfect.
I think about you when I’m at work. Does that make you feel superior?