The blooming scientist.
I'd been waiting for months, and it had finally arrived. My mother called me to the kitchen, pointing out the dust-covered window. Unable to control myself, I sprinted to it. I peeked back at the window, noticing she was more annoyed than ever with my excitement. She was so simple-minded at times.
I couldn't believe it had arrived. I'd saved every penny for it. My mind rumbled at sight. It shined bright, clean, and new. A hot, crispy metal stench singed the hairs in my nose as I pushed against it breathing in. A small sigh escaped my chest as I leaned in tighter, wrapping my arms around the belly of my brand-new galvanized tub.
Irritated that one dared to interrupt my moment, "none of your business," I shouted, not turning around.
"Mom said you have to share."
Rolling my eyes in total disgust, I yanked my body away from the base and stared at him. Then paused. He wasn't too tall yet. He'd fit quite well in the tub. He blinked back at me like an imbecile. His blonde hair caused slight nausea in my gut. My brown hair was considered "distasteful" to our mother, whatever that meant.
"Fine," I said, grabbing his arm and yanking, "get in."
"In there?" He whispered, pulling back.
My body burned as I squeezed my fists, but I was committed to this plan now and needed to stay calm. I wanted him to do as I wished. "Yes," I squeezed through my tightly gripped teeth, "in there," I said, loosening my grip.
I watched as he climbed over the side and plopped square in the middle. I often wonder if my mother cheated. "Stay there," I said, holding up both hands as I backed away. He nodded in agreeance, and I moved quickly, worried he'd change his mind. My legs wobbled, unwilling to proceed with the surge of passion.
This might work. Oh, boy, what if it did? I could be famous or, even better, rich at fifteen. I was at the back of the house, grabbing the first bag. It was unbearably heavy, but it wouldn't stop me. Heaving it over my shoulder, I went as quickly as I could. Bag one. Bag two. Bag three. All slammed as delicate as I could against the tub.
"What are those?"
I could feel my body burn as I started to twitch, "just wait and see, will you," I said sternly.
"I'm getting out. Mom!" He shouted.
"No, no, no, I was kidding. Come on. You're my science guy, right?" I nodded at him, "helping with my projects, right?"
He smiled widely, nodding back in agreement. Idiot. I sliced the first bag open with the pocket knife from my belt. There's something whimsical about a bag of sand. It's unexplainable. The puff of powder, the huff of dust, and the glimpse of sparkle make me stiff. I yank the bag from the base and begin dumping it in the tub, circling as it spills.
"Cool," he beamed at me as it began to cover his tiny legs. Ignoring him, I continued emptying bag two and bag three. Bag three was unique. It had the new mix I'd found along the road: a little dirt, some fine grey pebbles, and more sand.
I stood back, placing my hands at my waist. This was going to be good. An everlasting mud. He smiled at me. He was now covered up to his waist, hands-free mucking around in the gravel. "Enough," I shouted, "you're moving it around too much. Let it settle."
He straightened, losing his smile. "Patience," I yelled loudly as a magician would, imagining an audience, but it was only him staring blankly back, confused. I sighed. "Water," I said, appalled, "just don't move, okay?" He nodded eagerly.
I felt giddy again when I grabbed the bucket close by and jogged to the small stream behind our house. Oh, boy, what if it works? One bucket, two, and three buckets, four, five, six, seven, and eight. I wiped the sweat from my forehead. "It feels heavy," he said. I could barely contain the forced smile I had been stretching on my face to keep him entertained. "That's the point," I said, reaching for the large stick I had from another project nearby, beginning to stir. I watched as the muck got darker and darker as it combined.
"This is boring. I'm ready to get out."
"No," I shouted, holding up my hand. "Come on, buddy," I said calmly, "just a few more minutes, then I'll do whatever you want. Okay?"
I nodded. Moron. A breath escaped me. It was happening. The dark was beginning to change, becoming lighter and more complex.
"Hey, I can't swing my feet anymore in here. I want to get out."
I didn't answer. I didn't care. It was working. We could get him out later. He'll live. It was hardening. It was permanent. I think. I pumped a fist into the air. "Woohoo," I shouted.
"Moommmmmm," he let out a shrill. I shook my head. This kid has no patience. I thought as I crossed my arms.
Pain suddenly surged through my shoulder. I immediately knew it was my mother's razor-sharp fingernails digging into my bone. I've never understood how she managed to keep them so pointed.
"What have you done?" She seethed.