I was cleaning my room before my mom came home, and I was trying to be quiet for Leah. My room’s pretty clean all the time, but you know sometimes the magenta top goes next to the fuchsia one, and other times it needs to go on the other side of the red violet. It’s the lighting.
I saw the picture Leah posted on Facebook of Diane holding the baby. She had one of those polyester see-through scarves that old ladies have, wrapped around her entire head and face, supposedly as a mask to protect the baby from germs. Yeah right. You should see all the nice comments and likes. I laugh because I know Leah was totally making fun of Diane. ‘Such a good grandma!’ Creepy scarf bitch. ‘So sweet!’ She looks like a freaking corpse. The scarf is gray but you only really see the color where the fabric comes twisted together under her chin.
She is so butt ugly. I mean, it’s never your fault if you’re not pretty, but hello! Anybody ever hear of peacock blue? Carnation? Maybe if she would be nice, not fake churchy nice but nice on the inside it wouldn’t matter so much. Whatever.
In the picture she’s sort of smiling, but it looks like she’s sneering at a balled up towel because you can’t see the baby at all. Anyway all I can concentrate on is that scarf and thinking I know it’s a color photo, right? But it might as well be black and white. And gray. Gray gray gray.
Leah says it’s hard. No sleep, no social life. This’ll be doing her a favor. Diane tells everyone how much she loves Leah and the baby. How she only ever wants to be helpful. But she’s always criticizing. ‘How could you do this to our family?’, like looking for love was a crime, or, ‘Stop coddling. Ignore the crying.’
Oh, the box under the desk? Maybe baby, maybe Diane, I don’t know. I did it for Leah. She won’t have to worry any more. Hey, watch out for my crayons. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.
Okay so I had the baby downstairs because Leah needed some rest. No, that’s not it. Leah was sleeping on my bed. It was in the box so it wouldn’t roll away. It wasn’t old enough to move around, but it was round and you know how round stuff can roll around like crayons. So Leah was dead tired and I thought I could help out and let her crash on the bed for a while and I could keep it quiet. It was quiet, too, except for nice sounds, like Leah’s breathing and the sound crayons make sliding up out of rainbow order zzhhhht as I held them up one by one for it to look at and sliding down zzhhhht thud back into place. Its blackish eyes don’t have any color yet. Timberwolf. Slate. It has other colors, though, skin Sepia on paper, Bittersweet in the box. Flesh, that’s a joke. Have you ever seen anyone with that color skin? No.
Right. Leah sleeping, baby in box, room almost clean. Whatever I did, it was to help. When I hear my mom come home, I panic at first because my room isn’t picked up yet, and I only just realized, it’s going to stink in here and I need to get these bodies downstairs, but they’re heavy. My mom’s going to kill me. Wait, no she won’t. She’ll see I did the right thing. I was helping Leah. Mom’s not like Diane. She’ll help me finish up and carry this stuff downstairs.
Okay, Diane. Diane has these creepy teeth. Antique white. No. Beige. Gray brown at the bottom. Coffee. Those two sticking out at angles like they want out of her mouth. Why wouldn’t she get those fixed? Or pulled? So I saw her being nice to the baby, but how could I trust her to keep it up. I wonder if she wrapped her face like that to protect Leah when she was little. I bet not.
Charcoal. Dark gray. Pewter. Silver. She was all Sunday school teacher in the beginning. She only ever gave us baskets of broken bits of old crayons, the same eight colors over and over. Color Noah’s ark brown. Color Jesus’s eyes blue. Have child affix sticker here. Color that black but the words always still show through. We can offer you salvation but no stickers here, kids. Draw your own damn dove.
Diane didn’t draw. Diane read out loud from the Sunday school manual, droning on and on while we children made six color rainbows on thin yellowing paper. Beige. Like her teeth. Dandelion edges. Maybe more Marigold on the left side. Parents would pick up kids and jostle papers with cotton ball clouds falling off wet sliding globs of Elmer’s.
So Diane was here. Maybe she finally came to see my artwork. I don’t know. She said it was time to make Leah wake up to go home. And I was like, you are not waking her up. She’s exhausted, that baby is killing her. And Diane was all, I’ve got a roast in the oven and I need to get home. So I said go home then, but let her sleep. She can come home later. What about the baby? Leave him, I’ll get my mom to bring them both home later. I didn’t want the baby. But I didn’t trust Diane, with her sinister teeth and her opinions about my coloring, which she never even saw. Which is her own fault. If she had had any decent crayons maybe she could have seen something beautiful. That mother and child one is nice. That would look nice at Leah’s—
Right, the box. So baby in box, Leah on bed, not in crayon wrapper. Baby was getting fidgety and turning its head sideways and working its mouth and Leah had told me it would need to eat so I put two and two together, or one and one, because it’s just one baby and one Leah. I hoiked up her shirt and put the baby in there between Leah and the wall and she never even woke up but put the mouth on herself in her sleep and it just sucked away and drained Leah and Leah never once stopped breathing. In, out, big slow breaths. She must never sleep at home. Diane pretends to be all helpful and concerned but that’s obviously a lie. That scarf is nothing but a mask. ‘We must keep the baby healthy,’ but really she’s killing Leah.
So when Leah finally wakes up, she stands and runs her hands through curls straight up in the air and they fall in perfect crayon shaving curlicues around her shoulders. She’s like, thanks for the nap, the baby must be starving, and when I told her you fed it while you were sleeping she laughed and didn’t believe me, but sure enough her bra was unstrapped and her boob was hanging down.
She said she should probably get home and not bug me anymore. I said she never bugged me but of course she didn’t believe it and said she really should go. Thanks for the rest– best present I’ve gotten in a long time. I don’t think Leah ever once got a box of 96.
Are you always going to live with Diane? Leah laughs. Kill me now, she says. And I want to be a good friend so I said do you want some food, and she said yeah, but I can eat at home. Mom’s making a roast. And I said no she’s not and I would bring up something from the kitchen, so I went down and got some crackers, and we were out of singles but we had a Yellow Orange block of cheddar so I got that and a big knife and went upstairs and Leah was looking at the wall and said, I remember doing this one in Mom’s class and I got mad just thinking about it, remembering Diane telling me I wasn’t coloring it right, as if she would know in her Gray Black Beaver Shadow tweed suit.
Oh, you got the box out.
Right, Diane is the one in the box. See I put the scarf right? The color is better now that it’s tied properly around her neck.
So anyway I tell Leah, you could stay over and we could color some pictures like we did when we were kids. Kids, she said, we still are kids and now I’ve got a kid. How does this happen? And she looked so sad, and I said don’t you want the cheese and crackers and she said no and kept looking at the pictures and I thought if I had to die I would want to be looking at something beautiful when it happened in case I really did go somewhere afterwards and it would be a nice final memory. And Leah was nice to me and I wanted to do something nice for her and I thought of the mother and child picture and when I showed it to her she said yeah, that’s one of the best ones you ever did and when I knew she was really looking at it I hugged her from behind and drove the knife into her.