In fifth grade my mom gave me her CD player. I didn't own many CDs, only a few I remember, but I couldn't take it off my head.
"Take those headphones off," my teachers would say.
"Yes ma'am," I said.
Once or twice I did my hands like I couldn't hear so I'd be able to finish the song.
Inevitably the headphones landed on the teacher's desk. We would talk after class. She would hold and shake my wrist and accuse me of being a limp fish.
"I just really like it," I said.
"You have music class for music," she said.
"Music class is for the birds," I said to my mom after work.
"Speaking of, could you feed Walter?" Walter is a bird. "Barry is coming over later. I'm going to make bruschetta. You know, the bread." Barry was my mom's friend who I shared my bed with once over winter break.
My bed isn't big enough for two people. Maybe two small ones. I almost fell off so Barry stretched his arm over my chest to save me, and kept it that way.
Though in sixth grade my father took my CD player.
Alec Niedenthal has work forthcoming in Agriculture Reader and Sleepingfish. He currently lives in Sarasota, Florida, where it mostly is hot.