Winner of Wanted #13

Lessons in Drowning




“Does this make us alcoholics?” he asked from the bathtub.

He was playing with the loofah that was disguised as a duck.

He was too young to understand genetics conceptually. What he did know was that he had blonde hair just like his dad and a hard time perceiving red tones just like his dad.

One time his dad and I went to a parenting class and afterward we had told him that everything we had, we had as a family. In hindsight, we should have never served such romantic ambiguity to a 4 year old. In hindsight, we should have gone to more than one parenting class.

He heard the big words thrown around the kitchen late at night when he was already in his jammies. He would pull the step stool used to reach the brush swish spit sink over to the top of the stairs to sit listening to us us not listen to each other.

We’d say things and they would grow louder, echoing off pans, reverberating off the stainless steel, made hotter by the stove that boiled tea neither myself or his dad would ever be collected enough to drink. We had gotten to a point where it was hard to trust each other around porcelain.

I didn’t know what to say calmly what the locked bathroom door had said effortlessly.

“I’m done. I’m clean”, my little guy said.

I wrapped him in his towel and sat on the tub’s edge holding him close as my clothes grew warm then damp then cold.

Front page image by quinn.anya.

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