Thursday, September 10, 2009

piñata: an assignment for my fiction class

It rained cats and dogs when little Samson Turner was born that day in June at Decatur Memorial Hospital. His parents laughed each year and claimed that he was their bright light, and that was the reason it hadn't rained on his birthday since. This year was no exception. This year’s birthday was a perfect example of the splendor of June. And as Samson’s father laid on the deck soaking in the sun, his mother spent the morning wringing her hands and wondering about the 26 invites that had been sent to 26 students.

He’d always been acutely aware that he wasn’t quite the same as his classmates, and unfortunately for Samson, they were aware too. In first grade, when the students were encouraged to share something no one would know about them, Samson didn’t share his favorite colour or the pride he felt at Thursday night violin lessons like the other students. He made the mistake of revealing that sometimes he would forget to breath and remember only when his chest was aching and his heart was pounding. Even the teacher stared at him as though he was something far more abominable than a small tow-headed six-year old. He was a tomato in a garden of vegetables; it could be argued that a tomato is a vegetable, but no amount of rhetoric will make it stop being a fruit. This Samson had also realized.

Standing in the warmth of the afternoon sun, sightless with the blindfold required to crack a piñata, Samson spun giddily. He swung the broom handle in the direction of the llama hanging in the tree. The handle made contact with the animal, a dull thud, but not the crack that would signal candy.

In the silence of his second grade classroom, he had once started singing unintentionally. His mind was focused on the multiplication tables neatly stacked across the blackboard in his teacher’s handwriting. Samson had always imagined that her handwriting was made from the walking-stick-bugs in the insect book he kept in his bedroom on the second shelf to the left. As he stared at the board and willed the insects to come to life and prove everyone wrong, his mind and mouth had disconnected, and the song that he always sang with his mother in the morning had escaped without him knowing. The notes flew away like birds he could never get back and he didn’t even realize until he could feel the eyes of his classmates burning into him.

Samson held the broom handle high above his head, giggling and smiling the unique half smile that he’d had since birth. He swung again, but didn’t hit the piñata. He heard the wind rustle the tissue-paper fur of the llama, and knew he had been close. He shook his head and went in for one last crack. With all the strength his tiny frame could muster, he swung wildly. His arms stopped suddenly as he hit it, a brutal crack following. Samson grinned his biggest grin and tearing off the blindfold raced for the candy that poured from a gash in the llama’s side.

He dove into the shower of sweets, but there was no struggle to get the best goodies. No one had come. Not one of the 26 students invited to his party had arrived. The laundry list they were keeping of all the strange and unnatural actions of little Samson Turner had grown too long for them to associate with him. But as the candy rained down upon his head, the hurt Samson felt drained away into the joy of the evening sun.

1 comment:

Leslee said...

Good job, Cait. I enjoyed reading your work.