The bedroom was dark except for a few crooked streaks of sunlight sneaking in through the blinds which got bent the time Becca’s cat tried to climb the venetians like a ladder.
That cat was so cute.
It was stripey and had big gold eyes that turned a weird colour when they were looking into the sun. And it had six toes on its front paws and it really like to climb.
Becca couldn’t remember its name now but she did remember that one of her mother’s special “friends” had found it wandering around a construction site and given it to her.
Becca could still see her mom’s smile when the man had surprised her with the orange kitty. She’d shown all her teeth which was never a good sign. So it came as no surprise to Becca when one day, her cat disappeared. Her mother said she’d given it away to some farmer with a big barn because the cat was psycho and needed space to be psycho in. Her mother also said that Becca hadn’t noticed her cat was crazy because she was too young and young people didn’t notice things.
Six years later, Becca knew there had never been a little farm girl her age with bright pink cheeks named Franka. The kitten had probably been left in a parkette near the Gardiner Expressway on her mother’s commute to work.
Becca had learned that it was next to impossible to ever REALLY know what was going on in the House of Spin. It was better to be cynical and doubt the amount of truth that was in every one of her mom’s pronouncements.
Becca heard her mother’s voice pierce through her Pink Floyd groove from downstairs. She couldn’t make out the words. She just recognized they were sounds meant to destroy whatever good was currently happening. “Fuckkk” she groaned, cranking up the volume on her iPod. She was going to go deaf if her mother kept screaming at her. And then, as though she’d planned it, Roger Waters’ voice came out of the droning abyss and sang:
“The child has grown, the dream is gone. / I have become comfortably numb.”
Becca threw her head back and let the guitar fill rush into her gut, wishing it could fill the dark space expanding inside her. She revelled in the thought that someone else in the world had gotten the pointlessness of existence, too. Even if he was old. And maybe dead. And in a band no one had probably ever heard of.
The song got quiet and Becca heard the blender grinding in the kitchen which meant that she had to get dressed, like now, if she wanted a ride to school.
Becca kicked off her warm grey sheets and teetered of the edge of her bed a minute, her head hung down, trying to resist the pull of her pillow. She was convinced it was a magnet that fed off her warmth.
Eventually, she relented and opened one eye. She could see a patch of floor through her hair. Her toes curled involuntarily. The floor looked cold. And her slippers were way over by the closet.
Desperate measures, thought Becca. She pulled out her left ear bud to concentrate and stared at her slippers. Breathing deeply, she imagined she could see the Made in China stamp on the bottom of her Uggs.
Come, she said in a deep, low resonating voice in her head.
Nothing. She lowered her head for a better staring angle. COME, she ordered.
It was hard to tell whether anything was happening because her room was so dark. Becca felt around the bedside table for the lamp switch and clicked on the light. Baby pink walls popped into existence. Double disappointment. Her slippers were still by the closet. They might have moved – like micrometers – but she couldn’t say so for sure.
Becca got out of bed and kicked through her clothes until she found her favorite bra. She put it on and noticed her boobs starting to squeeze out at the top. Just what she needed: bigger boobs. One girl at school had named hers Betty and Veronica but she honestly didn’t get why people got so excited about them. Becca had done everything to ignore hers because the minute they had appeared – literally, the minute – everything had changed in her life and had been replaced with crap.
Becca pulled on a dark t-shirt and glanced at herself sideways in the mirror. She didn’t like to linger. She just looked long enough to check that her shirt wasn’t clinging the wrong way and her hair looked okay. It was weird how it did that some days.
The first thing underfoot was a pair of camo pants. She pulled those on and called it done.
NEXT WEEK: Becca tries to get to school unscathed.