6.06 / June 2011


listen to this story

My son leaves flakes of his skin around the house in piles, mica-like mounds deposited on the arm of the sofa, the corner of the kitchen table, the rim of the bathroom sink, the top drawer of the nightstand. Filial detritus.

We sleep in the same bed still. If you have a problem with that – well. Feel free to express it in person. He’d love to see you.

Yes, I said my son.

He doesn’t like when people move them, the piles.

I try to get him to keep them all in one place. I give him an Altoids box to keep them in. Now you can carry them with you everywhere, I say. It’s your body, it should stay with you. Not scattered everywhere for me to look at and clean up and shoo the cat away from.

Gross, I say. Gross, he says. He’s learning new words quick now.

He wanders the house, lid open. He scatters his skin flakes behind him. He gets this from you, I know. You always had to mark your territory.

The way you’d place your hand on my belly in public.

I follow him with the vacuum. At night we remove the vacuum bag and sit on the bed.  I empty the skin flakes back into the box.

He sleeps with it under his pillow. Sometimes the lid comes loose. Sometimes I wake with his skin in my hair.

Maybe I will gather these piles up and put them in an envelope. Send them off to you. Would you recognize him there?

This is your son, I’d write. Our son. He outgrows himself daily.

Virginia Lee Borges was once called "scrappy" by her hometown newspaper. This is her first publication.
6.06 / June 2011