"Your eyes are sparkling." He repeated.
He always said that when he knew I was lying.
"Did you just eat your booger?" He asked again.
"Your eyes are sparkling." He repeated. For the last time.
This time it is was a little more serious of a question than mucus consumption, though. My heart rattled in it's cage, fluids boiled as i nervously placed my thumbs under my index and birdy fingers and on top of my ring fingers. Tears bubbled because they genuinely believed that the eyes that held them were sparkling like blinking neon lights. As if i were staring up on the fourth of July or standing on the Vegas strip, the whites of my eyes gave off the truth. This towering figure had seen right through me and it would be foolish of me to not just tell him what he already knows:
"Yes. I did do it." My shaky lips spoke. "I'm sorry."
"So you lied to me? You fucking lied to me?" He stood. "Do you know how disgusting it is when your own child thinks you're a fool?" He pointed a rolled up magazine as I stepped back knowing he wouldn't hit with the magazine.
Often times I imagined fighting back. Fantasized about shoving my pencil in his neck, only to break it off and force the rest anywhere else in his body.
"I'm not your fucking son!" my voice came out louder and more high pitched than I had intended.
And that's when it happened.
I watched him sway, as if in slow motion. He blinked slowly as his mouth attempted to pathetically gasp for air. I reached out for him as he began to stagger back. It took a second of thought to make a movement, but quickly guilt leaped me toward him. His finger tips grazed mine as I watched him fall backwards into his liquor cabinet, which was always well stocked. He dramatically grabbed his chest with his left hand and threw his right out, as if to grab anything to stable him. With a crash, I felt my feet move faster than my initial lunge. Propelled by the broken bottles of hooch, I slid towards my father's sprawled body. The Seagrams 7, the Bowmore Legend, the Speyburn, the 16 year old Lagavulin Single Malt that my uncle James gave him for his birthday, all gave way to the slip that would change my life.
And then there was crying. I couldn't believe a man so despicable could cause so many people to cry. Myself included. At his funeral, my sparkling eyes insisted on pouring out tear after tear every time I heard my mother make a noise. I could faintly hear her over the preacher's sermon and my own wet panting, but each time I caught her sniffle, I cried. I felt sick inside and I cried.
And this crying went on for years. I had to be home schooled for most of highschool because of this: Each time a classmate would get a cold, I'd burst into tears at the mere sound of a nose retrieving snot. Teachers thought of me as an emotional nutcase and a distraction and recommended home school. My mother, a loyal servant to my now deceased father, not having anything else to do in life after his death, became my teacher.
I think we tried actually having class once. It was a very pathetic attempt at that. My mother pulled out one of the books she had ordered on Mathematics, looked at it and said, "I'm going to need another drink if I'm going to get through Algebra."
She poured me one too. From then on I studied only how to destroy my liver. We'd wake up early, take turns puking, telling the other to drink some water or throwing a couple Ibuprofen their way. The spirit of the lost man lived on in each hangover until one day at the liquor store when I heard an old man sneeze and then sniffle. Nothing happened! For the first time since my father's death, I didn't cry at the sound of a sniffle! This was it!
"Do that again!" I yelled from the opposite end of the refrigerators.
The man looked, but gave no response, just continued to open the cooler. I ran the 14 or so feet to him as he pulled out a silver and green can of Fresca. "Do that again. Please, sir." I tried to sound calm, but after yelling and hopping down the isle, my voice did not comply.The man looked at me with disgust, possibly due to the bags under my eyes and booze on my breath, and turned away. "Please, just sniffle once!" I implored again.
"Get the fuck away from me creep!" The man said as he threw a couple coins at the clerk and exited with his grapefruit soda. I followed suit out the door and sprinted down the road to the nearest bus stop. There, social miscreants of all kinds gathered to get to their equally odd destinations. Germs passed from seat to handrail to stop indicator from passengers going to the clinic or crack house and I was certain there would be at least one person there sick enough to give me a sniffle. Luckily, the bus was approaching as I arrived at the stop because there was only one person waiting at the stop and she looked healthy anyhow. Shaking off the little sprinkle the afternoon storm dropped, I reached into my bulging pocket to separate change from ripped receipts and bottle caps. I threw my fair towards the driver and nodded with a smirk.
Sitting down, I smiled, thinking I could once again join society without making a fool out of myself around anyone who has allergies. I rubbed the top of the seat in front of me in anticipation as we approached the next stop. In my heart I knew it was just a short amount of time before a single sniffle would change the way I lived for the past four years. I pictured myself stronger. With chest hair covering pectorals. A man for once. Dry eyed and in the height of maturation. I pictured myself to be someone that could go a day outside without humiliation. Without being called a "baby" or a "pussy." As someone a girl could like. Someone people turned or talked to. Someone to call a "good friend." Someone who left the house during flu season.
"AH-CHOO!" spit an old Chinese lady two seat ahead of me. I looked up in excitement waiting for that sniffle to inevitably follow and did it! I could hear her nostrils flare, see her body hop up with the inhale. I watched her tilt her head back slightly and I felt a familiar feeling of heaviness in my lashes. I turned to the stranger rubbing elbows with me and he said:
"Your eyes are sparkling."