What kept us together for four years? Happenstance, timidity, arrogance, complacency, need. Of course we could make it work. She was unhappy, that was clear, but it was easy enough to blame that on the long hours spent working with ungrateful children and less appreciative parents, attempting to hammer the skills thought most useful for a good middle class life into ten year old children who would, almost all, be pregnant, or jailed, or destitute, or dead, within the next decade. At home, at night, over the third glass of cheap red she turns to me, eyes foggy and teary, saying that she does not understand an existence where a child can confidently state that they look forward to growing up because it means they can go to prison and be with their father, their brothers, and their uncles. And the worst part, she says, is that the child is probably right, that they more than likely will end up in jail. The spark of violence has already awakened in him, and the other children can already tell that he is a lit fuse.
I, true to form, sat in my room and carefully labelled the different specimens that had come to hand, writing on little strips of caramel coloured card the genus of the moths and butterflies I owned, as well as the popular or layman’s name for them, the date and price of purchase, and a short descriptive paragraph about their life cycle, mating habits, and colourings throughout their lives. I took more pride in this work than in my occupation, which is of so little importance as to be not worth mentioning, and nothing gave me greater pleasure than to place a row of six insects under glass, their names carefully written out in my neatest script.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.