Author: Pegasus Rider PM
One man's trash is another man's treasure: a boy's childhood in a dirty of attic.Rated: Fiction K - English - Family - Words: 1,177 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 11-20-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2866232
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: I was on the computer at midnight a few months ago, and no one was on Skype. I had nothing to do, so I opened a blank document, positioned my fingers over my keyboard, and wrote. This is exactly what I wrote. Not counting a few fixed typos, I have not touched it. Therefore, warning: not edited.
Alex always liked going through old stuff. It was really the mystery he liked - like opening a birthday present.
He grew up in his grandmother's attic. He could spend hours just going through the piles and piles of random stuff collected over the years - some that had meaning like pictures of his father when he was a boy, and others that just were fun finds like the framed whoopie cushion in the corner.
He remembered when he was younger, he would come over just to look. It became a Saturday tradition - Mom and Dad would talk to Grandma, and when he was really young, Grandpa downstairs, and Alex would go into the attic. He would explore though the piles of things, play with the toys. In all the years, he had never gone a Saturday without discovering something new.
He didn't keep the stuff he found. Even if he really liked it. Grandma would let him, but Mom banned bringing things home after the second trip.
On those Saturdays, Alex would explore - his imagination would wander though the so called junk. That keychain filled with countless keys once belonged to a burglar - that burglar robbed the same houses over and over, but only took a little bit each time so not to be pursued. That old rag doll in the corner - she was the doll of Laura Ingalls Wilder, or maybe someone like her. A rocking horse. Suddenly, Alex was a cowboy - no, a knight, fighting battles and winning princesses. He was Indiana Jones. He was whoever he wanted to be.
"Alex?" Grandma. He watched come up the stairs with a tray. "You hungry? I brought some lemonade and cookies."
Once when he was young he showed Grandma his horse - the horse's name changed quite a bit. At age four he had named it Barbie. Barbie was a word off of some doll case in the attic. At five he started kindergarten and upon learning the real meaning of Barbie, the old rocking horse's name was changed to Hulker, and later on, Kryptogon, a name Grandma helped him select.
Mom thought it was silly. She would say it was interesting, but she never meant ito Alex, the mother took care of him - fed him, clothed him, but it was Grandma who knew him. She understood adventure, and knew how to answer its call.
Very often, she would join him. She would be Godzilla. She'd be Darth Vader. She would let the hero, Alex and his sidekick, Kryptogon save her from drowning, a fire, an evil monster.
"Alex?" Grandma 's voice. "Are you hungry? I have some lemonade and cookies for you."
Something was different. Grandma hunched her back as she walked, or for that matter, when she stood. She climbed the attic stairs slowly, with uncertainty.
It was all Grandma's stuff. She thought all things were worth keeping, no matter how ridiculous. Who knows, you might need it some day? Mom and Dad criticized her. Alex heard them talk about how strange she was in teh car on the way home. But Grandma was right, for the useless junk had shaped Alex's childhood.
Mom didn't like any of it. She was disgusted that there were literally piles and piles of stuff in the attic. But Grandma said that there was a memory - a piece of her life - hidden in each item. Mother would test her sometimes. She would pick up something and asked Grandma what made it special. Grandma would always answer. Did she really remember each thing, Alex wondered, or did she just make it up? Grandma said that things were meant to be enjoyed and loved.
Mom said to be regular, and play with other children instead of wasting time looking at junk in solitude. But Alex wasn't alone. He had Kryptogon, and all his other friends there with him.
"They aren't real, honey."
But Kryptogon didn't tease Alex because he was short, and wore glasses. Mrs. Paint, the giant plastic doll who lived on one of the rafters didn't poke his freckles with a stick like the girls in his class.
"Alex?" It was Grandma. He jerked Kryptogon's reins and ran to the top of the stairs. "Lemonade and cookies, dear?"
He waited for her to climb the stairs. Her legs shook, as if carrying her was a bigger burden. She need to hold onto the railing. Finally a few steps up, Grandma just extended her arm, letting Alex come down to take the tray from her.
"Thanks, Grandma. Hey, do you wanna play?" Alex grabbed another cowboy hat and held it out to her.
"Not now, Alex. I'm going downstairs."
Her voice had changed. Not suddenly, but it was then that Alex noticed it. It was more shaky - sort of like other old peoples' voices. Did it happen to all of them? Maybe so, but not Grandma. Grandma was different, right?
Alex's mother picked up an bunny rabbit. She looked at it's tattered body, and brushed off dust from its overalls. She threw it into the bin bound for Goodwill the next morning.
"Wait, no Mom, that's Dorsal." Alex took the toy and put it in his bin - the things he could keep, like Kryptogon, and a lot of others.
She rolled her eyes. "Alex," she said. "You know you can't take everything."
"I know," he said. "But I need Dorsal."
"Isn't Dorsal something on a dolphin?"
To her, it was a day for clearing out junk in her mother-in-law's attic. To Alex, it was a day to say goodbye to his old friends, and look on at childhood memories.
His Father came up the stairs to help them, and to bring up some cold soda. It was a hot day, and up in the attic it was even hotter. The three continued sorting the items. When it got dark, it was decided that unanimously that they would go home and finish up another day because there weren't any lights in the attic.
Dad looked at the bins of things to give away. "Shame we have to give all this stuff away." He picked up an old barbie doll. "You know, this could be worth something."
"Maybe we should sell it." Mom walked over to him.
"No," Alex said. "Let's give it away. You know, so someone else can have it."
His parents looked at each other, the possible fortune at their feet.
Alex walked over to his bin and put a hand on Kryptogon's back. "That's what Grandma would have wanted."