Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reflections of a 22-Year Old Black Man (Draft 1 of Chapter 1)

My life is full of unfinished stories. Moments where the idea is clear and then gone. Maybe that is what life is. One unfinished story moving to the next. I don’t remember my first stories. I remember the re-tellings. The tales my parents have passed onto me and I will now pass on to you.

When I was first born I sneezed and blinked. When I was born I was small. My father told me once that I fit into the palm of his hand though I doubt that. My mother had a cesarean section to birth me one month before I would have been born otherwise. She told me the doctors believed at the time I had a weak heart. Ever since then everyone… well everyone on my mother’s side calls me Dinky or Dink the Wink, or just plain Dink.

On my second birthday I climbed up on the kitchen counter and starting eating my birthday cake before it was officially cut. I believe it was a chocolate cake.

If I am going to start telling tales I believe a few introductions are in order. I am Gregory Daniel Miles, Jr. It always starts as Gregory but within a few days everyone calls me Greg. To be honest I don’t think any of those names suit me. I call myself at least a dozen other things in my mind and the internet, but when anyone asks me my name straight out I say Greg Miles. A name is supposed to tell who you are but that name says next to nothing about me. On the net I am the Cyphered Running Wolf, The Mirrored Dog, but those names are part of stories I have yet to tell. Right now let’s get back to Dink.

I am and have always been a momma’s boy. A while after I was born my mother had to do what most working mothers do and had to find a daycare for me. It has hard looking because whenever she would leave I would cry. And I wouldn’t eat either. My mother ended up taking me to the doctor because they thought I had a stomach ulcer. It just turned out that I was a momma’s boy plain and simple. I once drove my maternal grandmother crazy with the crying. My mother left me with her for a few hours and I just started wailing because I missed her. I was old enough that I could speak and I remember how I tormented her. I would calm down for five or ten minutes then . “Momma!!!!”

I had a very distinctive cry as a child. My cousins would call it a moose call. Some children have a sob. Mine was a loud penetrating wail. Let me quantify loud. I grew up in a ranch style house. The kitchen was on one end of the house with the living room on the other. If I started crying in the living room you could hear it very clearly in the kitchen. The odd thing about crying as a child is that afterward my nose would sort of close up and I would get a splitting headache. As I got older it didn’t bother me much but when I was very young after I was done crying that would just lead to more crying.

I am a first and only child. If I wanted friends I had to look outside my house. When I got older it was a bit harder and a bit easier for me, but as a child my cousins were the closest folk I had to siblings.

I have a huge extended family. I do not want to annoy any of them by acting like they were not a part of my life, but as much as I hate to admit it I did spend more time with some rather than others. Alicia, Marvin, Spud, and Justin were the ones I hung with on my Mother’s side. Each of us was separated by no more than two years from one of the others. I was and am the third oldest amongst them. As children we were inseparable. In the summers we would swim and travel together. The first years of my memory are dominated by bus rides and train rides where we would play Uno until we got to a hotel where we could swim.

I may be a bit out of shape now but back then in the water I could beat them all. There were other places we would swim, the Southfield civic center, and the Colman Young Recreational center. Colman Young’s pool was bigger and was inside. I scared my mom several times by swimming to the deep end. I liked not being able to walk in the water. I liked having to swim.

In the summer between first and second grade my Aunts decided to take us to Disney World. The park wasn’t that fun. We all got lost and separated. My mother decided to stay put and wait for the others to find us. We roasted in the Florida heat and humidity on a bench, while my cousin Alicia rode magic mountain. When we all got back to the hotel we found a Gauntlet arcade game. Between us we probably dropped $70 into that machine.

When I was a child they would spend the night. I enjoyed their company but the same time. I didn’t. Even now I hate compromising for the sake of the group. If everybody wanted to watch a movie I wasn’t particularly interested in, I would just go off on my own. They loved Child’s Play. Its not a particularly frightening series to an adult or even a teenager, but for a little kid it will fuck you up. For a long time I hated horror movies because I either had to watch Chucky kill people with my cousins, or go down into the basement and play Nintendo by myself.

For this reason I was also a pretty bossy kid, to the chagrin of Marvin the youngest of that group. We would fight about it all the time and eventually it would always lead to a wrestling match. By the time we were twelve we had established unofficial teams. It would always be Alicia and I vs. Marvin and Justin. Marvin had childhood arthritis and one time we were going at it I heard a snap. It was nothing. I don’t mean nothing serious. I mean nothing. I doubt he even felt it, but I instantly released him from the shoulder hold I had him in and said, “Are you okay.” I don’t know why but that cracked everyone up. For a long time after that was an inside joke amongst us. Another time we were going at it on the front lawn of my house . I was winning against Marvin but he called Justin the oldest in. They double teamed me, and Justin kicked my front teeth in. I still have the bonding. Yep that was one of the times the moose call came out.

That was the first real dental work I had to have done. Oddly enough I didn’t have any cavities until my junior year in high school though I did wear braces. I hated them I’ll get back to that later through.

The preschool my parents eventually settled on was Babes Academy. It wasn’t too far from home. I can’t remember a lot from there but I do remember a few things. When the Gulf war jumped off, we showed our support by dressing in military costumes and doing a medley. I don’t know how accurate a camo cowboy hat is though. We also had a hula party and did mock weddings. Mine was to a girl named Erica. She went to just about every other school I went to though admittedly after elementary we weren’t that close. Eventually the place went out of business but for a while one of the teachers used to allow the kids to stay at her house while the parents went to work.

I went to kindergarten early. My birthday is in November, after the start of the school year. I forget all the details but my mother was given the opportunity to let me start a year early. Up until my weird college years people would ask me if I was promoted. In retrospect it gave me a bit of an inflated ego being the youngest guy in class. My mom says on the day she went to register me for school I yelled for everyone in the room to be quiet. I don’t remember it exactly but I can imagine it. A bunch of noisy kids. Even then I hated chaotic noise. I can deal with TVs and radios but I hate cacophony. That was one of the few times my mother spanked me.
Unlike the rest of the school children's day kindergartners had only a half day. The bus would come pick me up at 11:30. The kindergartners had their own part of the school, mostly because they were on a different schedule than the other kids. If you were part of afternoon kindergarten like me you got out at 4:00 while the other kids got out at 3.

I almost failed kindergarten because I had the chicken pox. I was out of class for two weeks because of it. The school had a policy that if a person missed tens days of class they automatic had to repeat the grade. During my illness I was mostly babysat by my father’s only sister, Aunt Joyce who at the time I thought was very mean. I had the habit of eating the baloney out of the baloney sandwiches and then eating the rest of the sandwich mom made me and Aunt Joyce yelled at me because of it.

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