Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The Ferrer’s were that strange family that the whole neighborhood would gossip about.  Overly abusive parents who could be heard screaming at each other day and night.  Three kids.  The oldest daughter was a hop-head.  Never home, sleeping with a different boy every week, high as hell.  Judy, I think her name was.  The middle child, James, took after his father.  An overweight loudmouth.  Then there was Claire, a pig-tailed angel.  My first crush.

            Apart from the echoed arguments and occasional appearance of squad cars at the house on 525 Bloom Street, the Ferrar’s were without incident.  A few scant memories remain in my head.  A wet trampoline in their backyard that we used to jump on, furniture in the house coated in a thin dust, a utility shed where Judy and I played doctor on at least one occasion, a bathroom window that overlooked the backyard where James used to “moon” us or whip out his dick.  But these were quickly overshadowed when we heard a loud pop one Saturday afternoon.  Turns out, James and Claire had been playing with their father’s rifle.  It had gone off and shot James in the face while Claire had tugged at the handle.  She ran away almost immediately and never came back.  James returned nearly a month later from the hospital.  We’d all thought that being shot in the face would be the end of him, but James had proven us wrong.  They’d reconstructed his face on the right side and, apart from his buzz cut and a few missing teeth, he looked perfectly normal.  He was the same old James, still whipping it out whenever the mood struck.

            The Ferrer’s moved away not long after that.

            My dreams lately involve meeting them years later.  The same house on Bloom Street, half a block down from my own.  The parents are gone and Claire has a son about 10 years old.  She wakes him up when I arrive and she introduces me as his father.  The boy has suffered the same fate as his uncle, shot in the face with a somewhat botched facial surgery.  The boy, also named James, has glass eyes, is blind and partially deaf.  We hug and we both cry at this reunion.  I have no memory of ever having a relationship or even a one-night stand with Claire, but somehow I accept James as mine.  We all take a tour of the Bloom Street house and the surrounding neighborhood.  There’s even heavier piles of dust on the furniture of 525 Bloom, the smell of dogs, piles of newspaper and the trampoline has a gaping hole in it.  Most of the houses in the neighborhood have been demolished and converted into football fields.  James is confident that he’s going to be a quarterback someday and who am I to argue.

            The dream ends in a slow fade to black, like an old movie.  I’m completely aware that this beautiful moment is dying and I try hard to stay asleep.  But Claire, with a tear in her eye, pushes me gently and I wake up.




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