Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Boy in The Orange Trunks

I am sitting in the park trying to reorganize my work/life balance and suddenly I hear this obtrusive and barely comprehensible voice. It breaks through my peace like a stubby finger bursting bubbles. It draws my attention snatching me from the word of Malcolm X which I gripped tightly with both hands.


I follow the aim of his raging voice and it lands like a bullet on a tiny little boy. He immediately bursts into tears as the bullet of the hostile man's words fall upon him. He is a tiny little boy, bright orange swimming trunks. They are long in a mature way, worn the way a teenage boy might. He wears a tiny white t-shirt over his little chest and his head is bald. He is maybe 4 years old.

An older boy (7 or 8) runs up to guide the crying one back to the fountains that are spewing water from the ground. Tens of kids are currently running in between the fountains, screaming, laughing, trotting around in glee, while this little boy cries just nearby. None of the other children take notice. The man yells again,


The little boy in orange trunks makes a sudden dash for freedom (I would have too). The older boy chases after him. I turn to look at the fuming man to gadge his reaction.

The man is fat. He wears faded jean shorts and a dirty wife-beater with fringed, unraveling edges. His stomach and love handles threaten to burst through the fabric. . His hair is cut close to his scalp and his face is like that of a dark raisin. He looks meeeeaaan and his squinting makes it worse. I have this feeling that he is young, late 20s early 30s but he looks more like 45 or so.
His back is to me now.

He is leaning over the back of a park bench. His flat wide ass is showing, his ass crack soaking up the sun. When he stands back up I see in his hand a belt- a purple belt- a leather purple belt-white on the inside.

He starts the long march across the courtyard to find the little boy in the orange trunks. His steps are heavy and his weight falls sloppily with each step. He leads with his forehead, walking forward but always looking down.

(I shake my head)

His arms swing hard as they push his fatty body through the air. The heat, I know is making him slump harder.

I try to beat him to the boy-
with my eyes, that is.
I am trying to figure out where he ran off to.
I am running out of time
the fat man's walk, though sloppy is deliberate so I know that his eyes are locked on the little boy in the orange trunks.

FINALLY, I spot him!
 The fat man is only a few sloppy steps away. He reaches him, raises his left arm, hand clenching the purple leather belt, he lets all of his power fall onto that young boys back.

I listen for a scream or cry but I hear nothing that I can distinguish as that. If he did cry out, his pain was lost amongst the sounds of the other children in the fountain who were still yelping with joy.

The boy had run off to some woman. After the boy was struck, she snatched him into her arms, cradling him, protecting him.

Now she and the fat man appear to be speaking about something. He is walking away, but  turns his head over his shoulder to continue the conversation.

After a while he whips his head around and begins the walk back to his bench, walking forward but looking down.

I wonder if he feels as though he got his point across. I wonder if he feels strong.

-Jacqueline Naami

1 comment:

  1. A bully of a fat man he was, indeed. Thanks for his "mom" being around.