40 Years Of Steve
This day, 1973:
In the patterned house of things both lime and purple, in the polyester breeze wafted by maxi skirts and the turbulence of corduroy flares, in the shade of my father's sideburns, there grew a bump in my mother's tummy, quite unmarked by myself. At three one notes the joyful melt of summer chocolate, the enticing mew of wild cats at the end of the garden, the difference between sand crunch and sea splash: one does not note the changing shape of one's maternal parent. Parents are considered a stable entity.
It was quite dark when my father and his shady sideburns shook my shoulder to wake me up. It was therefore either wrong or of great import. He whispered, which was pointless. A whisper is something done when you don't want to wake a person. He whispers: 'You have a little brother. Come and look.'
What? But his tone was reverent, it told of a significant event. I put my feet on the macramé carpet and pulled on my lime and purple dressing gown and followed him along the hallway where the lime and purple wallpaper made geocentric repetitions that were bright even at midnight. I followed him and the shadow of his gigantic facial hair into the room with the big bed that parents sleep in and my mother was awake as well. She is looking at a cot that has suddenly arrived, and it seems to have arrived with a baby in it.
'He looks like you,' remarks the father.
-I don't look at all like a baby. I am a person, aged three and a half!
I am shoving spare bedding back into the airing cupboard. Haste makes a lousy job. It all falls out. Grit teeth, sigh big: pull out the base of the pile to fold and stack and here's a small cushion cover, gently faded, patterned: purple, lime green. Just for a moment before the sensible refold, it gets hugged.
-I am a bit of a baby after all.