The Petty Details of So-And-So's Life

The Petty Details of So-And-So's Life by Camilla Gibb Read Free Book Online

Book: The Petty Details of So-And-So's Life by Camilla Gibb Read Free Book Online
Authors: Camilla Gibb
Tags: Fiction, General, Psychological, Sagas
and Blue were eventually forced to stop holding hands at school, they were always aware of the precise whereabouts of the other. They met at the corner store three blocks from school every day in order to walk home together, well out of eyesight of cool Brenda Tailgate. For two blocks it was safe to hold hands.
    With his hand safely in the grip of his sister, Blue would natter on about how Joshua, a boy in his grade four class, had peed all over his hands, or how he had a new best friend called Stewart who had a hockey card for every one of the Boston Bruins. Emma would tell him that Sandy, the girl with eyebrows that met in the middle, was wearing abra, and that Mrs. Daniels, their art teacher, had let out a fart when she bent over to pick up a piece of pottery that Gary, the hyperactive boy, had thrown on the floor.
    â€œDo you think these pants make me look fat?” she asked him.
    â€œBut you are fat,” he responded, in all innocence.
    â€œThat’s why boys don’t like me,” she sighed.
    â€œBut I like you,” he had said in his wide-eyed way.
    â€œI know, Blue. But it doesn’t count.”
    Elaine wordlessly handed Emma a book at the end of that year called
Dr. Nelligan’s Diet Book for Girls
. She had offered her daughter the first silent lesson of being female: dieting was the road to love; thinness, in a mad, mad world, was the answer. The world was becoming like this—less and less spoken, much more in books. The world above the basement had grown quiet since Oliver had started to sleep in the garage on a camp cot from the army surplus store.
    â€œDreaming is an essential part of any creative process,” Oliver had said, defending his self-imposed exile to the end of the garden. “I simply need my psychic space to be free of distraction in order to invent.” Distraction obviously meant human contact, particularly that with the members of his immediate family who seemed to him more wanting and needing than other human beings. “Look, Elaine. Just give me some time and space. I’m on the verge of something big.”
on the verge of something big, Oliver.”
    â€œWell, I’m on the verge of something
big this time.”
    â€œAnother flying what’s-it?” she asked.
    â€œYou’re taking the piss, aren’t you?” he said, annoyed. “That airborne radio receiver had revolutionary potential. Do you hear me?
. You just couldn’t see it. You don’t have any vision. Or any faith, for that matter.”
    â€œWhat are you working on now then, Oliver?” she asked without the slightest bit of genuine interest.
    â€œIf you’re really curious, I’d be happy to show you. Hey, I’ve got an idea,” he said, raising an eyebrow.
    â€œWhen have you ever
had an idea?” she muttered to herself.
    â€œWhy don’t we have a date? Come to the garage on Friday night. We’ll have a bottle of that Chianti you like and look over the plans.”
    â€œYou mean the big something is still at the paper stage?” she asked, rolling her eyes.
    â€œOh, please, Elaine. It’s a final draft,” he pleaded.
    â€œWhy don’t you just show me when you’ve actually built the thing. I don’t believe in make-believe any more, Oliver.”
    â€œWhen did that happen?”
    â€œAbout seven inventions ago.”
    Elaine hardly needed Oliver to share a bottle of Chianti. For the next couple of months she drank one by herself nearly every night while Oliver whittled away in the garage in silence. They didn’t hear much from him except for the occasional torrent of profanities from the end of the yard when he inadvertently hammered some body part. There was a small mountain of empty takeout pizza boxes growing at the entrance to the garage, reassuring them that Oliver was still, in fact, alive.
    Blue took to retrieving the discarded pizza

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