I had no magic as a child. I would have used it if I had, to stop the Boots from kicking me where I hid. Flat against the bedroom floor with the floor of the sky just inches above my nose, I knew no safer, more anonymous place to be, but even so certain shoes and socks meant trouble. The more I saw of the grownup world from under the bed, the more I learned to predict behavior from ankles and feet. Sneakers wanted to slide in with me. Polished tried to drag me out. Scuffed and sockless went down on a knee to offer me only his hand to hold and squeezed mine back and could have asked me to kill for him and I would have. When they all went away, I taught myself to cling to the floor of the sky, so nobody swinging a broomstick under the bed would know I was there. It’s a pity. She could have healed us so easily. She could have said, I know it’s hard. I know the choices I make mean trouble for you but I’m suffering too and I want something good out of life; do this for me. She never said it. Whenever they kissed and she lifted her heel from the floor, she was making an offer. They either set her back, or took her weight and stood for a while off balance, or lifted her and placed her somewhere above me where she wouldn’t fall. After that, there were no surprises. Barefoot men are all alike. I lay against the floor and touched my hand to the breathing sky as it moved, and waited for the day when I would either find my magic or grow up enough for a place of my own.

Copyright © October 02, 2009 David Hodges

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