Infancy

Infancy

“Waaaaahhhhhhhh,” he screeched. ” “Waaaaahhhhhhhh. “Waaaaahhhhhhhh. “Waaaaahhhhhhhh.”

“No,” I said.

He sniffled. He wiped his nose of snot and his eyes of their salty tears.

“But I am an infant,” he wailed

“Why do you believe that?” I asked.

“Because there is nothing in my mind but my wailing. And my thoughts are consumed by nothing else but my momma.”

“Your wailing? Don’t you mean your neediness? Your neediness for your momma? You neediness of what your momma can give?”

“There is nothing but my wailing,” he insisted. “My babbling and crying. My need of the bottle and my bottom wiped and talced. And it isn’t my fault. Rather, it is my fate.”

“But I hear more than your wailing,” I said. “You are doing more than wailing now, for example, in explaining to me why you are an infant.”

“Your head is not brimming with this wailing,” he said. “This wailing inside me washes everything else away. You do not experience it, so you cannot know. So you cannot criticize or judge.”

That was true. So I remained open, yet skeptical.

“Why else are you an infant?” I asked.

“I see it in the mirror,” he said.

“What do you see?”

“I see I am toothless. I see my chubby face and wisps of hair. I see tears. I see a cherub in need of comfort and care and attention.”

“Can I tell you what I see?”

“What?” he asked reluctantly.

“I see a man. I see a man with a full head of hair and a beard. I see a man with a full mouth of crooked, stained teeth from smoking too much. I see a fat man, not caused from infancy, but from his lethargy.”

“You are very harsh on me,” he said. “Don’t you understand that infants need comfort and coddling?”

“Yes,” I said. “I understand that. As well as that men do not.”

“You are very harsh indeed.”

“And are you not harsh on me, trying to convince me as you have convinced yourself that you’re an infant, in spite of everything I can plainly hear and see?”

He began wailing again.

I remained unconvinced.

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