Synaesthesia Magazine Americana - Page 60

>> extraordinary calculations of pocket money. How many comics versus how many sweets? How many books? How many toys? His friends stayed with him as they changed to a new school, a longer trip everyday, leading them a different route to the one I was used to. I waited at the end of the road and smelled their liquorice breath. I so needed him to see me, but no words were ever exchanged.

I walked as near him as I dared, laughed at his jokes and agreed with his opinions, willing him to notice.

I whispered the names of my favourite books as I stood beneath his open window at night, and told him the things I’d enjoyed when I was young and beautiful, and had been truly alive. But he never heard me.

Ten, then eleven. The dawn of the age of secrets: plans within plans, duplicity and cunning replacing the openness of eight and nine. How can we get to the carnival? Whose birthday will take us to the cinema? How can we stay up late and watch the horror film? And through it all his mind changes, complex thoughts jostle for position as he and his friends start to ask the bigger questions. He changes, and eventually the beautiful high-pitched voice is gone.

This was a terrible time for me. I used to watch my boy play without a care, but now he is growing in so many ways, his hands now easily reaching the lower branches and brushing the leaves with his fingers. His self-consciousness makes him wary, but he still he has his friends with him, and I watch as they build a wall around themselves. I fear I may have missed my opportunity, but I can hope.

Twelve, and thirteen. The year each parent knows their child is gone, replaced by a stranger in their homes. Each childish treat ignored, each rule tested and selectively disobeyed, each limit stretched to breaking.

But Paul does none of those things; he has not become that kind of boy. He loves his family and friends, he is popular at school and, the thing that bothers me most,