...In Arms (Yes, It's Love)
Jake looked at his brother Joshua and made a squinched face.
"Why are you peeing on me Joshua?"
"Because its fun and I'm bored and my name isn't Joshua."
"I don't care what your name is. Please stop peeing on me or I'm gonna tell."
Jake kicked his brother, whose name wasn't Joshua, in the balls. His brother fell to the dirt grabbing his nuts and crying. He fell into his own piss.
"See? Now you're all piss-muddy and mom's gonna find out anyhow. Now we might not get Anything Can Happen Day!"
His brother, whose name wasn't Joshua, didn't answer, he was too busy lifting himself onto one of the two wooden chairs in the room. He wiped his face with the fist that wasn't coddling his tiny sack and left a wet diarrhea-like smear of pissmud across his cheek. The wet filth mixed with his tears and Jake felt sorry for his little brother.
"I'm sorry Josh. I didn't mean it." Jake kicked the dirt until it covered the shallow pissmudpuddle.
"My name's not Josh..." his brother answered. "Can we look at Hawaii now?"
"Okay, but just for half of sleeping time or mom will for sure find out."
"I'm finished." Jake says.
"Doing what?" his little brother asks.
"Counting to 33. I'm done."
"You did that yesterday."
Jake's little brother was killing ants in the corner and eating them. His fingers and his face were filthy from smashing the ants into the ground and then into his mouth.
"Mom said you shouldn't eat the ants anymore."
"I don't care what mom says. I want to see Shorty."
"You can't see Shorty. Shorty's dead. He got hit in the head, member?" Jake walks over to his little brother and grabs his hand away from his face. "Stop eating the ants please."
Jake's little brother relents and lies down on the dirt.
"I'm tired Jakey, can we sleep now?"
Jake looks down at his little brother and thinks he feels love but he's not sure.
"Okay Joshy. Let's go to the hard."
"My names not Josh..."
Jake thought it had been four days since the last Anything Can Happen Day, but it was hard to keep track of the time for two reasons. One reason was that he could only count to 33 and he thought that days meant you had to count higher. The other reason was that he wasn't sure exactly what a day was except that it meant something about the time you are spending being alive. Jake knew he and his brother were still alive because they were talking to each other and seeing each other all the time. But the bottom line was he still wasn't sure how many days the last Anything Can Happen Day was. It felt like a long time though.
She came in like sunshine, like outside. It was the same every time.
She ran to Joshua first.
"Hi mama's baby! How's mama's baby?"
"Mama's baby is happy mommy! I am happy now!" Joshua hugged her legs. She patted his head.
"Your head is still cold. Where is your hair?"
"Member it went away on Anything Can Happen Day?" he looks up at her and kind of braces himself for a flinch. She doesn't look at him and might not be even listening. She is looking across the space to the corner.
She looks like she's dreaming but with her eyes open.
Jake knows what she is asking about but plays dumb. "What Mommy?"
She walks over to the corner missing every pile and puddle of filth. Her shoes are high and thick she is tall to them both. Tall like a wall. She is a wall. She walks to the wall. The wall and the wall meet. She sees it.
"This!" she reaches down behind a slat in the wall and pulls out Hawaii.
Josh scurries over to the hard and Jake stays put. Jake sees Josh is not going to say anything. Josh is rubbing his head. Jake thinks he's trying to warm it up in case she touches it again but he's not sure. His mom is not dreaming awake anymore.
"It's Hawaii. I think you dropped it last Anything Can Happen Day. Is today gonna be Anything Can Happen Day? Can we get a sandwich or a picture box again? Can..."
"Jake be quiet. Mommy's mad," she cuts him off. "Mommy was going to have it be Anything Can Happen Day but now mommy's mad. Mommy's leaving." She takes Hawaii, but puts down a box before she walks her wall self to the door she came in. She opens it and closes it and it makes a jangling sound from all the metal stuck to the inside. Josh calls it Owie Metal.
The only thing left of her was the smell of outside and a tight feeling in Jake's stomach.
Joshua starts to make a crying sound.
Jake would normally go look in the box but instead he goes to the hard and helps his brother rub his head for a mom that wouldn't be feeling it.
He thinks, no, he is pretty sure; this is love.