Child of Summer
mouse, sheet music, comedy
FICTION ALERT: THIS STORY IS IN NO WAY A REFLECTION OF MY LIFE AND THE STORY IS A COMPLETE WORK OF FICTION.
I was born into a rather unconventional household. My mother was a particularly quirky lady. Growing up she used to call me her ‘Child of Summer’ which was always a puzzle to me because we lived in the northern hemisphere and I was born in April. April is very much spring, not summer.
I was never really sure which of the men who used to hang around the place was my actual father. Or indeed it may have been none of them were. Uncle Pedro, I was pretty sure, was gay, so it couldn’t have been him. He was the best cook and was also really tidy and did his best to keep the place from getting too much like the dive it was.
It was a strange situation to grow up in but there always seemed to be a great sense of camaraderie. I grew up surrounded by people who were always laughing and enjoying themselves. Sometimes it felt like living in a comedy T.V show although there was nothing like that on TV at that time. It did lead to some awkward questions at school when people asked me who my father was. I often said it was Steve. Steve seemed to be my Mum’s favourite. He was tall, blonde and athletic, I wanted it to be Steve. It could just as easily have been Juan, Mike, Ted or possibly even Pedro although that was strictly an outsider given what I’ve already said.
I probably looked the most like Uncle Ted. We both had brown curly hair, although Uncle Ted’s all fell out by the time I went to high school.
There was also plenty of music around the place. My mother was a great singer and several of my Uncles could play the piano or the guitar. Only Uncle Ted could actually read music though. He used to have some sheet music up at the piano and he tried to teach me to play. I was never any good though. I remember the summers when more people would turn up and they would sing folk songs like Peter, Paul and Mary. They used to sing to me too. Songs like Puff the Magic Dragon. They all seemed to find that so funny. Or maybe it was the large cigarette they used to pass around.
I remember one of my teachers deciding to take matters into her own hands and tackle my Mother about my rather unusual upbringing. I think she meant well. I remember her bringing me home one day in her car and knocking at the door which swung open.
Uncle Pedro had left us by that time and so the place had descended into an absolute mess. My Mother never tidied up anything in her life and none of the other Uncles really bothered.
We walked in and Mother was asleep on the sedan with an empty bottle lying by her hand.
My Mother was usually so placid and easy-going but not when woken up from having some of her special medicine. You had to put a cup of strong coffee next to her then wait until she was able to focus before talking to her or she was liable to lash out.
Unfortunately that’s just what she did. With that and the mouse that ran out from under the sedan and tried to run up her leg, my teacher couldn’t cope with the problem she’d unleashed and ran away screaming.
My Mother moved me to another school after that.
Looking back on those strange times, they were the happiest days of my life.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 19/June/2018