I was, like most people growing up, lavished upon with a healthy mix of affirmation and shame.
It was a pretty clear Yin/Yang in our household. My father struggled to approach the changing world with his 1950s world view, a view that made real men hairy-chested, muscle-bound inseminators who could field strip a Buick blindfolded. My brother was born seven years before I was with a love for sports but a body that would prevent him from living that dream. My mother proceeded to miscarry three times before - in what I have always envisioned to be hail Mary coitus - I shot forth into the world. Finally, a chance for my father's genes to manifest in the way in which his God intended. Progeny waiting to be trained for battle, a clean slate upon which to write the ways of men.
Alas, it was not to be. In me he got the flip side of my brother. Born rosy and plump, I developed near hemophilia only to round back out around puberty. I had a general lumpiness of body that could have been molded into anything: baseball, certainly. Basketball, maybe. Football? Well, that's a stretch. The body was there, but absolutely no interest in sports, hunting, fishing, any of the things my father associated directly with maleness. I didn't have to imagine his frustration. I saw it in glances I will never forget, a chill hard to shake off.
Potential energy. Sounds spot on, but it didn't feel like potential to me. To that young, blonde-haired overly sensitive boy it felt like losing the race while your loved ones look on, but in a dream where it happens over and over, skipping like a record just out of reach.
Next: In which there is fire and wheelies and even some Melville...
Happy Piano Day