Thursday, January 24, 2013
Far Off Songs
I could hear them fighting over the tablet playing cartoons. As I listened to the vocal coaching on my computer and tried to sing along and practice, their constant bickering moved through the glass door and found me and pushed me away from my concentration.
I could imagine Noah trying pull the computer more towards him and Jonas pulling back, finally strong enough now to defend himself against his older brother.
It was the endless struggle for property that would stay with them until death. Territory and desire and anger, they were fully present even at three years old. They were even more evident than in adults, due to the lack of social flitters and niceties and the many disguises the adult world has devised to cloak those inner urges. When those little boys wanted the computer, the cookie, the train they took it. Available responses of the other was tears, or a scream or to hit back.
I could not hear any response from Noah, so I assumed he was the perpetrator. I had stopped trying to intervene. I had grown tired of trying to make them share, or warning them, threatening to take it away, now I had just grown silent. I had other things to do. I sunk back into the music and left them alone, it would be survival of the strongest.
Occasionally I heard Jonas’ weapon of choice: that scream. The high pitched wail irked me from the inside, one of those sounds which physically chilled me and made me shake and try and shrug off the noise. I closed the door to the living room. They were going to do what they were going to do. There could be no reasoning, they were too young, they were little machines.
The boys used to sit with me as I did my vocal work. When Jonas had just learned to sit up by himself I would put him on a chair next to me and he would look at me with huge, smiling eyes and laugh at some of the sounds. Noah would sometimes sing along and then we would dance.
Just a few years later and fully human, they were more interested in Dora and Umizumi and their computers and ignored me as much as I tried to look past their fighting. The babies had recognized the work, they could sit with me, patiently waiting sometimes as I went through the things I wanted to do; these little people did not.
They had fallen. It was only a matter of time, all beings must descend, become human, become mere machines.
Maybe one day they would stop fighting and hear me singing from the other room. Maybe they would remember some of our early nights together when we sat in three chairs in the living room and they would come out to join me once again: singing, dancing, laughing.