At today’s Workshop in the Irish Writers Centre the prompt was this poem, “What Do Women Want?” by Kim Addonizio, after which we were to write about clothing and its effect. (Please read the poem, because it’s great, and because if you don’t my last paragraph will mean nothing to you) …
In his blue V-necked jumper and his grey trousers he was Stephen, or Stevie to his parents. Stevie was a baby’s name and he wasn’t a baby anymore, he was four, and anyway they had an actual baby in the house now. Joshua was the baby’s name, and sadly there’s no way of dumbing that down, the kid already sounded older than Stevie did.
In his blue V-necked jumper and his grey trousers he went to his Montessori school each morning with his Power Rangers lunch-box which held his cardboard packet of Capri-Sun with its attached straw, his banana for little break and his sandwich for big break. Once there he put square pegs into square holes, kept inside the lines while colouring, and joined in a song which stated the indisputable fact that the wheels on a bus go round and round.
In his blue V-necked jumper and his grey trousers he was a Good Boy, with almost audible capital letters at the beginning of each of those two words.
But when he got home he was different. In his Batman outfit he fought crime, tearing around the house in his Batmobile, though he had to pedal it rather like Fred Flintstone. He felt sure that Batman didn’t have to do that, but then the Batmobile has blackened windows, perhaps inside Batman is pedalling frantically like a duck approaching a waterfall.
In his Ireland soccer jersey he was Robbie Keane, kicking goal after goal into his little net past the large fat teddy-bear who was playing the role of England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
In his Doctor Who pyjamas his bedroom was the Tardis, and his dreams travelled through the deep blue darkness of time and space.
When he grew up he was not going not wear a blue shirt or grey trousers. He would not wear a grey jacket either, and never, ever would he wear the waste of polyester-forests that is the tie.
He was going to wear dungarees with no shirt on underneath and a baseball hat on backwards, just like the Guerra brothers that he passed every day on the way home from school.
They threw pigs off a truck for a living. When you’re four it’s hard to imagine a cooler job than that.