Lately, I think I’ve been going a little mad. I talk back to my stuffed animals; I call them names; I pour water on their plush little bellies. I’ve even started to pluck their felt eyelashes, one by one. I intend to knit myself a scarf from pulling the threads that keep their limbs sewn together. Mother bought rose scented candles yesterday and I’ve had my eye on them ever since, but I have yet to find a match or a lighter. I don’t smoke and Nana has started to keep the matches in a drawer that’s too high for me to reach. But I digress. I think the root of the problem is that, lately, nobody trusts me.
You see, I was baking pie—lemon meringue, if you must know—all by myself. I told them all I was mature enough to handle it and that the recipe didn’t call for the use of knives and that if I needed to use a knife when I was done, I’d holler at the top of my lungs for the aid of a bumbling babbling adult. So I gave explicit instructions to everyone in the house not to enter my laboratory. But, did they listen? No. Human beings usually never listen to explicit instructions, especially when they are laid out as clearly as a crystalline solid.
Anyway, as I was saying, I was in a mode of intense concentration that was on par with the meditation of the most devout Buddhist monks—methodical mind control (you should look into it because I told Mother it would help with her persistent haggard appearance, but she just stared at me with a vacant expression, one that is most commonly found on domestic cats)—when, speak of the devil, Mother stumbled in over a pile of mixing bowls. I dropped the bowl of fluffy meringue that was in my hands and watched, as though I was cast as the leading role of a badass ninja in an otherwise B-rated Hollywood movie running in a comical slow motion against a backdrop of CGI monsters emerging from a murky lagoon, the whipped egg whites and sugar splatter against my new British flag-emblazoned pair of Chuck Taylors. At that moment, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the canvas covered with confectionary sugar and whipped egg whites was what unleashed the roaring tempest from within me. I was a lion, staking my claim for the beating heart of the dancing gazelle I had just seized, gnashing my molars and issuing a litany of ancient curses against Mother and her ancestors.
Father has a phrase that he says he coined himself for this type of behaviour: “temper tantrum.” But I don’t like using it, though hindsight guilts me into reproducing it here, because it offends my sensibilities. I felt my behaviour was entirely justified and I’ll tell you why: I made that meringue myself and nobody trusted my abilities. Well, I scooped the lemon filling from the piecrust and flung it at Mother, yelling, “I told you not to interrupt me, stupid!” That earned me a justified slap across the cheek, as well as the thought-defying sentence of being grounded indeterminately (though I can probably weasel my way out of it). Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to call Mother ‘stupid,’ but I tell you if I weren’t trapped in this fifty-one inch body, I’d wreak the kind of apocalyptic havoc that you only hear about in stories or see on male-dominated movie screens. I swear I could have leveled the Earth when my meringue plopped on the floor. And you know what? Fuck you, John Donne. I would be no slave to Fate, Chance, kings or desperate men.