• SibLINGSHOT

colours


It was raining. Not a tidy deluge, nesting its own rhythm, but the vilest of drizzles. Flurrying up into the face and ears. Fizzing on the end of one\’s nose.      A celtic rain.      Birds settle in trees and eaves to escape it. Those mistiming it wheel back on the wing as if struck by a leading left hook.      So goes Pablo. One hand curled tight around his son\’s. Steering him clear of the most threatening of puddles. A broken chair. The mattress left out to soak. Fucker, fucker, fucker, he thinks.      Chin crouched this way and that. Ha. Ha. Ha. The child goes. Drinking it down.      The pavement ritually bathes. Never in the sun. Its gutters are muddied, inches deep in stagnant water when it stalls; detritus racing by to stick up a storm drain when it floods. What fool architect unfurls his plans in the shade? The legacy of an era when white people recoiled from a window set ablaze. Suspicious of colour, loitering in obscurity. Sheltering a smile in the most fashionable of moustaches.      Pablo misses the glaze of summer. Flowering plants laid out on the sill.      The book he resides in is bent.      They get to the nursery and there are cars parked everywhere. Right around the corner. Black lotuses, blossoming straight out of potholes in the asphalt. The odd red. A blue.      Mothers make a dash for it. Between kerb and intercom. The playground is a lake they must negotiate. He catches the fire door before it closes, and they step inside a hothouse of finger paintings. Coats on pegs. A jumble of wet footwear underpinning benches. Motherfucker, he thinks. Glad no one can hear him.      He helps his son step out of his jacket and hangs it up to drip. Switches shoes for Plimsolls. Ha. Ha. Ha.      His boy and a little girl trade feints and jabs. The girl is dressed as Spiderman from the waist up. Her face is flushed as if she has just come from the beach. A thousand miles away. He separates them with an anxious flutter and shepherds his son to the classroom. Signs his name on the sheet attached to the wall. Purple. Yellow. Green. Each little group carefully colour coordinated.       A woman comes to the door and opens it. The matronly type. They exchange pleasantries but, it seems to Pablo, they might as well be chewing on bubblegum. Pop. Pop. Pop.       Ha. Ha. Ha. He is reminded that the school is collecting for charity, and dutifully purchases a cookie wrapped in brown paper. It will be a miracle if it survives the weather.       No, no, he declines when offered some coins as change. Ha. Ha. Ha. He waves to his son through the glass panel on the door and smiles at the young couple who materialize at his elbow. Waiting their turn to sign the sheet. Returning his grin falteringly as he all but throws his hands in the air and steps away from the wall.       Motherfucker.

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