Past Interlude #15
San Antonio, Texas -1988



Some nights, Remy walked through the house instead of sleeping. He knew how to walk so he didn't wake anyone up.

First, he'd go through the main floor, open the fridge and stare at it. The air that came out was so nice and cool and he knew he didn't have to ask for permission to get somethin. He liked the little drawing of skulls and crossbones tucked over Dad's beer cartons and said "Touch and DIE!!!" in thick, black marker. He liked that there were three types of juice and one of them had real pulp in it 'cause it was made with real fruit instead of the powdered stuff. He liked Tupperware the best, how Mrs. Jaworski-- she was so hot for Dad, he was tempted to just lock 'em in a room together-- labelled each one with their names and how his name was starting to fade a little just like Scott and Alex's Tupperware. He opened and closed each drawer and cupboard, the dishwasher, too. Then he lay on the linoleum floor, spread eagle, and stared at the ceiling for a few minutes before going to the dining room.

Once there, he pulled out his chair. He'd sit there for a while, hands on either side of an invisible plate, recalling past conversations like that time Alex threw a spoonful of peas at him and Scott threw another spoonful back at Alex in retaliation then how Dad started off with the corn and pretty soon the entire table was a mess. Or the time when Scott told announced that Remy got into a fight with a sixth grader and Dad said he was going to march right down to the office and tell off the principal for letting older kids beat up younger ones then broke out the ice cream to make everyone feel better.

It was off to the living room after that. Remy traced each word on the video cassettes, mouthing the titles to himself and revelling in the knowledge that he wouldn't have to return these to the library or the next door neighbour and he wouldn't get in trouble for forgetting to rewind them unless Alex started whining. He'd run his hands over all the little knick knacks around the room, remembering a thousand little factoids about each item. Dad bought that one back from Hawaii. Scott made that in kindergarten. Those were from Scott and Alex's mom. That was from Alex's godmother who had really bad taste in lampshades but they needed the light and besides, it made for a great conversation starter.

He stared at all the pictures. He wanted to make sure that he still looked like them, that it wasn't a trick of the light

He'd peek into the laundry room, still unable to believe that some people actually had whole washers and dryers inside their house instead of having to walk down the street to the coin laundry. The little powder-smelling sheets of paper were the best. Scott said they were to keep your clothes from getting electric and Alex had shuffled along the carpet, making himself electric anyway and then they'd all had a zapping fight.

The only place he didn't go into was Dad's office. Dad told them it was off-limits. That didn't stop Scott and Alex from going in but Remy just knew that if he tried it, he'd be back in New Orleans. He'd get kicked out eventually, of course, but this was a pretty good gig so far and he waned to stay on as long as possible.

Instead of the office, he went back upstairs. He inspected the bathroom in the same way as the living room. Alex's bedroom was closest. Remy opened the door a crack-- he oiled the hinges every few days-- and crawled in. Crouched beside Alex's bed, he'd listen to his brother breathe a few times then tiptoed around, touching all his toys. The other night, he'd pocketed one; it was just a broken little Transformer that Alex wouldn't miss and Remy liked knowing he had it.

Then, he'd go into his Dad's room. Sometimes it was locked but Remy easily picked that with a thin screwdriver. The tricky part was making sure Dad wasn't humping someone when he snuck in. One time, he almost opened the door but the girl screamed just then, making Remy run for his room. He couldn't open many things in Dad's room either; he slept really lightly. So Remy simple walked around the room, hand trailing across the furniture before standing at the foot of the bed to watch Dad sleep a while. Once he found a coin that fell out of Dad's wallet so he kept that.

Finally, he went into his and Scott's room. He'd touch everything again, almost petting the toys that were his exclusively, then scanning the many book titles on Scott's shelves. He opened one of the dresser drawers where Scott kept all his awards, took one and return the one he'd gotten the night before. He went into his closet, felt for each column of cotton or denim and tried not to rattle the clothes on plastic hangers.

Only then would he finally go to bed, cocooned in blankets, his treasures tucked under his pillow.

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