The Tumblin' Belly Blues: Sick Kids And Helpless DaddiesSerge Bielanko
There are all kinds of helplessness we get to feel in this world.
You know what I mean, huh? Sometimes there is nothing to do but let the steamrollers of mean life run over you, one after another, a long slow parade of three ton mechanical dinosaurs moving over you/flattening your tummy for you/until your just a thin wafer of old sun burnt gum stuck to the road.
Or maybe you don’t know that feeling, I don’t know.
Maybe you’ve never been so smitten with somebody who just couldn’t bring themselves to love you back. Not for a few days or an hour or even a stupid single moment in the middle of all time.
Maybe you haven’t ever laid eyes on a smile and wish you could crawl inside it and live there until the sun popped out of the sky and it all went dark.
If not: good for you, I guess.
You haven’t had your heart busted wide open with a sledgehammer.
That must be nice.
Or, maybe, you’ve never had to do what I had to do the other night.
It was me on the couch, watching a little TV: a little Anthony Bourdain/or maybe a little King Of Queens. Something good. I was into it, I remember that much.
Violet was in the playroom about ten feet away. She was watching a little Mike The Knight, I remember because it was too loud and I wanted her to turn it down, but she can’t yet and I was too lazy to move.
I took a wad of feta cheese off the little dish on the coffee table and chucked it in my mouth. Violet wandered into the room , her eyes showing sleep around the bend. She laid down on the leather next to me and I ran my one hand through her hair. She didn’t look up at me, but stared straight ahead at the TV/through the TV/past the TV and out into the kitchen and probably past that too and out into the side yard.
“You okay, sweetheart,” I asked her, without peeling my eyes off the tube.
She got up and stood on the Target rug that runs underneath the coffee table, underneath my stretched out legs.
I looked at her and when I did I caught her eye. “Ohnoooooooooo,” I remember thinking. “She looks ….pale.” I let that register. She looks sick. Blurrrrrrp. She let out a little burp. I laughed like it was really funny and tried to get her to laugh too, but no dice. Then, I felt it coming, like a sixth sense or something.
I grabbed her like a cigar store Indian/moved her over away from the rug/ hung her out over the old floorboards. Her feet had barely touched the ground when she let loose. And oh-my-stars did she ever cut it loose. Poor kiddo.
She was a fire hose hose that shoots milk.
She was an old cracked dam tired of holding back the rapids.
She shot a rough ivory laser beam out of the barrel of her pie-hole. Her tiny eyes bugging out of her face while her short arms just hung limp down at her sides like a couple of broken baby bird wings. After like a minute of straight shots there was an intermission when she finally allowed herself to whimper a little.
My heart drooped.
And then when she realized that it felt good and right to weep, she laid on the full waterworks and cried and cried. She wanted it to be over but I knew better. I pinched a few of the curls flapping down into her face and swept them back behind her soft ears.
I told her it was okay.
“It’s okay, baby,” I whispered in her ear. What else can you say, really?
More came then. A thawed stalactite of sour cream guts hissing its way through her spacey teeth with the harsh force of a dragon’s tongue. Bubble beads of sweat ran down her brow. I wanted to make it all go away/ I wanted to do what helpless parents always wanna do/I wanted to do what helpless parents can never ever find a way to do no matter how hard they want it/no matter how hard they wish it.
I wanted to put it all in me.
I wanted to pull it from her back like a a crappy 9v battery and stick it in me: the Ill Cartridge…you wanna hurt someone, @&^%!$#&%$@#….HURT ME!
But it’s never really possible. We never seem to get that choice.
There is only those miles and miles of useless desert highway splayed out before you as far as the naked eye can see.
There is only the hopelessness that comes when part of your soul splatters hour-old fish sticks right back into this cruel and crazy world.