Growing Up Inside Words

Contributor: Reese Scott

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He was born in a hotel. But of course he didn’t know it was a hotel. He didn’t know what a hotel was. He didn’t know what a room or a roof was. It’s difficult to create images without the help of words and since he had none he only went by what he was told. Which was very little.

Inside the hotel lived three other people. A young girl close to his age and two people who were older than they were. When the boy and the girl were alone they would talk about the difference between them and the other people.

The first thing the young girl said was,
“Do they move like that on purpose?”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know. It looks like they’re always getting up in the morning.”
“Maybe they were just getting up.”
“That would make sense. But they look that way all the time.”

When it got dark they sat down at a table to eat. Nobody spoke and nobody knew what they were eating. It was just food.

A few weeks later the young boy handed the girl a note and asked her to meet him outside behind the green thing. He didn’t know how to pronounce what the green thing was or what it even was.

When they met, the young girl noticed the boy seemed to be scared.
“Give me your hand.”
“Why are you scared?”
“No. I’m not scared. You're a girl.”
“Who told you that?”
“That you’re a girl?”
“Then how do you know I’m a girl?”
"I don’t. I just do.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Am I right?”
“Yes. What did you want to tell me?”
“I saw something last night.”
“The two.”
“What about them?”
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t do that. You’re blushing.”
“What’s that mean?”
“I think it’s a big word for when your cheeks look red”
“So why are my cheeks red?”
“Because you’re blushing. What did you see?”
“I don’t know. I mean I don’t know if it was real. I think I was dreaming because I didn’t know anything or anyone.”
“What did you see?”
“Just two people like the ones here.”
“Did they look like them?”
“Yeah. Pretty much. It was dark.”
“Where were you?”
“I don’t know. Where they put the bed.”
‘You saw them in the bed?”
“What did it look like?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did it look fun? Were they laughing? Were they sleeping?”
“No. They weren’t sleeping.”
“Then what they were doing?”
“I don’t know?”
“What did it look like they were doing?”
“It looked like he was trying to hurt her.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. I think I was dreaming.”
“So what? So he hurt her?”
“I think so.”
“How can you just say you think so?”
“Because I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what?”
“What hurts and what doesn't hurt.”
The young girl punched him in the leg hard.
“Did that hurt?”
“So what were they doing?”
“Well. They were both in the bed. At first it was hard to tell who was in the bed. At first I thought the bed was empty. But then I could see what looked like one body move under the sheet. But then I realized it was two bodies under the sheet.”
“They sound like ghosts.”
“You think so?”
“I don’t know.”
“I hope they were ghosts.”
“So then what happened?”
“Then I saw their heads come out of the sheets so I could see their shoulders and faces”
“Were they smiling?”
“They weren't smiling and they weren't sleeping. What does that leave?”
“I don’t know. But then it felt like a dream because I was suddenly right next to the woman in the bed. Maybe a foot away.”
“Did she see you?”
“No. Nobody saw me. It felt like I wasn’t there. Then the body of the man started to do something strange. I had never seen it before.”
“I don’t know the words. Well you know how you hammer a nail into a wall?”
“It looked like that.”
“It looked like he was hammering a nail into the wall?”
“Then what?”
“It looked like he was hammering it into her.”
“I don’t know.”
“Did he have a hammer?”
“I don’t know.”
“What happened when he was hammering her with the nail?”
“I don’t know. I couldn’t see. The hammering was happening below the sheets.”
“But it wasn’t a real hammer.”
“I don’t know.”
“But it wasn’t a real nail.”
“I don’t know.”
“What happened?”
“I just stood there watching.”
“And what?”
“I watched.”
“You didn’t make any noise?”
“What made you think he had a hammer?”
“Well every time he seemed to want to use the hammer on her he would lift his body up in a weird way. Like he was trying to swallow her and then it looked like he was using a hammer.”
“Where was the hammer?”
“Down here.”
“Down there?”
“Really. Was she okay”
“I don’t know.”
“How can you not know?”
“How am I supposed to know. I just stood there as he moved up hitting harder and harder until finally her face looked at me.”
“Did she see you?”
“No. It was like I wasn’t there.”
“What did she look like?”
“I don’t know.”
“Was she laughing?”
“Then was she smiling?”
“She wasn’t sleeping, you already said that. Then what was she doing?”
“Well. It looked like she was crying.”
“What’s crying?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then how do you know that’s what she was doing?”
“I don’t.”
“Then why did you use that word?”
“I couldn’t think of any other one.”

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Reese Scott is from New York. He is currently residing in California.
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