It’s summer, 1987. I’m 12 years old. I’m at my grandmother’s house, roaming around the yard. The goal is to look busy, avoid people; hide in plain site.
Chickens dart around the yard. Goats behind a fence press their faces through the boards of their enclosure, mutter staccato bleats. I watch the animals, lost in my head. I walk in big, loping circles, looking for interesting rocks. When I find one, I pick it up, hurl it at a tree, move on to the next rock.
The family is gathered for a reunion. Most are inside, eating, conversing. A few older cousins are in the workshop, looking at an ancient tractor.
I try to quickly walk past them. A cousin says, “M. What’s with that? Your arms?”
“What do you mean?”
“When you walk, they don’t move. You look…”
He moves his arms to his side, holds them rigid; squares his shoulders…mirroring my posture.
“You look like a robot. You gotta relax, loosen up or something.”
I look off to the side, too frustrated to respond. [Read more…]