(This is the fifth chapter of this short story. Follow the links below to read the previous chapters)
http://wp.me/p5AbPX-OQ chapter 4
Ok, now let’s go ahead and put my parents room “in review”:
Their room was laid out much like my room is today. They had the master bedroom in their house like I have the master bedroom in my house, except I added a 6×12 foot walk-in closet and had my half bath converted to full. The closet was a must have, my Snicker Bar, Fritos and Coke fetish have to remain private… and secret. Yes, after all of the “things” I went through, I survived, and I guess you could say, I even thrived…never underestimate the power of prayer, 47 years of psychotherapy and some of the best mind altering drugs known to man.
The master bedroom- my reminiscences of this room are a bit hazy, and it’s likely that the matter involving the bees, the electric blanket and the baseball bat are the cause. The doctor said that waiting until the swelling went down was probably not a good idea. That one nostril was swollen so big it cut off the air to the other one and I guess my airway was blocked off a little more than I thought from that blood poisoning infection I got from the rusty needle mama used for my stitches. Those five days of random wheezing/whistling instead of breathing, undoubtedly must have done some brain damage.
What I do remember is the way mama and daddy had to hold Renny down every morning before school to comb his hair. See, Renny was born with his intestines twisted and had to have an operation when he was just two days old. Granny Lynn said they used too much “ether” and that made his teeth look like tiny yellow spikes. She said it also explained why his hair was so damn bad that they had to use a metal comb to comb it. Spikey teeth, non- spikey teeth, good hair, bad hair – no big deal, right? Especially since his baby teeth were destined to fall out anyway… but what about that hair? Would it fall out, too? Was there any hope? The fact that they basically had to hog tie Lil Renny each day just to get the comb through one “2×2” block was too much for mama to bear. He was her baby and she wanted to protect him at any cost. I believe that’s when the hair transplant idea first crossed her mind, at least that’s about the time that I noticed mama spending more time with me than ever before. She hugged me more, she held me more, she kissed me more, she smelled my hair more and she ran her fingers through it more. The only time I can recall a hug or kiss from mama was the night I choked on my hamburger steak. Looking back, I realize two broken ribs might be consistent with the Heimlich maneuver, but where does mouth to mouth fit in to that scenario? I guess she wasn’t taking any chances. My parents were court ordered to keep me alive “by any means necessary” or else, and obviously, they intended to do just that. Nothing in the order mentioned keeping me with or without hair, which now leads me to believe mama was “casing” my head. Do you know what that means? It’s a slang law enforcement word used to describe what potential thieves do when they check a location out or watch it closely and covertly.
This hugging and kissing and finger combing went on for 6 to 8 months. Then one day granddaddy came around and offered me a cup of that sweet, fruity tasting, warm tea with the funny smelling froth on top. I didn’t want to be rude so I took it, drank it and woke up 4 days older, lying on the floor, in a tea induced fog. I was confused, thirsty, hot and sweaty which was the way I always felt after drinking that “tea”. I eventually realized I was in my parent’s bedroom and I can remember nervously looking up at daddy who was sitting in his recliner next to the bed. When I stirred, he looked down at me with that empty mouthed frown and a question mark on his face. That simple look silently spoke volumes. When I looked over at mama, who was sitting in the corner, her face told a different story. She looked away and snickered. Suddenly I caught a glimpse of my hair in the big mirror over the dresser, only it no longer framed my face. It was Lil Renny’s face that my beautiful, luxurious locks were caressing. I reached up and touched my head and began to cry, not for the hair I’d lost but for the hair they’d left me with. I felt what could be no less described as patches or splotches. One look in the mirror and my muffled sobs were covered by shrill, hyena-like laughter. I stared at my reflection in the mirror until it became obvious that each time I inhaled, the hyenas would stop and they would only begin again when I exhaled. It was me, the laughter slash shrieking was coming from me…
…8 days later…. I woke up to the smell of ammonia and Vicks Vaporub with a hint of Lysol and a touch of bleach on the side. It seems that daddy had convinced mama that I was possessed, and that the only way to stop my “fit” was to purge me. It only took 3 months for some of the feeling in my cheeks to return. I still have trouble with the right one when it rains and the dentist has such a hard time numbing my mouth that he has to sedate me. I guess that’s from that ammonia, Vicks, Lysol, cocktail enema they gave me that day; and all these years I thought I’d inherited this crooked smile…