“We dun gone and lost our shape Pa, don’t know how, don’t know when, but she sure aint round here no more. Musta lit out before sun-rise and took all that was good in this here family with it”. Pa clenched his fists and seized his self tight, squinted, took a deep breath and glowered at him, “You go and tell that ornery critter, that if he don’t have our shape back here before sun-down, well you tell him that Willie boy’s a comin, he’s a comin after him and there’s gona be trouble, big trouble.”
“Something happened”, I explained to anyone who’d listen, or else I’d mouth the words silently when they gave up on me, ears bleeding, heads aching. “Something happened”, whispering at my computer screen or staring blankly into the distance, drooling. “We were in a groove you see”, not to be confused with a rut, we were very much in a “working together, each of us knowing and doing our own shit”, a “living and letting live” type of groove”. Harmonious, we had a shape which was getting us there, a synergy and I’m using that word seriously for the very first time.
Forensics will show the little things leading up to the loss, the lunches being made in the morning instead of the night before, the additional five minute snooze in the morning, the prevarication over teeth cleaning. The moaning and whining started later with the negative vibes.
“So, what happened Sniffle?”
“The Builleogs bui, builleogs bui, loads of them, tons of them”
” Builleogs bui?”
Oh God, the notes, the fucking yellow notes home, from Darla’s school. Notes are okay, mean nothing to me really, what can a piece of paper tell me that I don’t already know about my child, my teenage child, my Christina Aguilera look-alike daughter. Notes can’t come between us, or take from what we’ve shared for the past thirteen years, notes can’t inform or direct our relationship, can’t alter the shape of our lives.
“But there were loads of them Sniffle , how many , ten , twelve ?
“Yeah, but they’re only scraps of paper, meaningless pitter patter, harmless really”
And when did the noise start Sniffle, the whine thing ?
Right round the avalanche of notes I noticed a change in the background noise, sort of a low frequency moaning, you’d hardly notice with the notes and the chatter. But gradually, imperceptibly the frequency changed, the volume picked up and it was only then we saw the origin, the emitter, the source. You see Buzz dun got pissed off with the winter, got withered with his parents and with his sister and brother and went into perpetual whine, a condition designed to drive us from the family home or change said home, into one for the bewildered. He whined in the morning, whined at his unwashed cornflake bowl, at his bitten nails, his whine soon became an existential howl, and to look at him , to hug him, would only make it worse.
So Sniffle, the Builleogs bui and the whining, is that it ?
Throw in a little cabin fever, Squeeze’s stuttering assault on Moscow, and my middle years, did I mention my middle years, mix them all up and then ,well then …….
Pa lit out later that morning searching for our shape. Hooked with his old hunting pal Two Moons McCarthy and they headed for the hills. Jaw set, hat brim pulled down, collar turned up, one hand tucked in under his rawhide jacket, the other holding the reins loosely, wind howled and in the distance a coyote did too. They kicked on up through the brush till sun-down, made camp and brewed up a pot of thick black coffee.
“What we looking for Sniffle?” Two-Moons said quietly.
“Our Shape, Moonie, the family shape”
Two Moons went back to sippin his coffee.