Ways and Means

My family was the kind that tried hard, but our efforts never hit the mark. When my mother made cookies for a family get-together, my fussy aunt found a cat hair and acted as though my mother had planted a razor blade among the chocolate chips. When my father bought a used snowmobile from our affluent piano teacher, he never got it running, and it sat for years in our garage, amid the many other non-working implements until hauled to the dump. That dump was a big hole dug behind a barn. The intention was the barn, once a chicken coop, would be bulldozed into the hole, and covered like a grave. Instead, the hole remained a canker sore filled with garbage, aluminum cans, and debris. My brother was encouraged to strive as hard as his intellect hinted he could, but he spent his energies in less fruitful ways, and my mother burned his heavy metal albums in a garbage can in the driveway. I was the kind of child, already subservient to my own physical discrepancies, who bore their failures on my sleeve, where my heart might have been had I been less embarrassed to show it.

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