Thursday, 1 July 2010
In The Nursery - #fridayflash
The nursery is full of toys. Toys that like many all over the world lie shunned and unloved. Empty-armed huggable animals, with their faux fur bleached by the fierce embrace of the sun; pedal cars slew parked and collecting dust rather than imaginary tickets; games gutted for their batteries so as to muzzle their dissonant blare. But in this particular rumpus room, it isn't because the tots have grown weary of them.
The walls are brightly, nay gaily decorated with jungle beasts in primary colours. The hues of hope and innocence, somehow swallowed by the pall of malevolent gloom that hangs in the air.
Sucking in its walls like cheeks holding breath, the Wendy house, ideally a place of nesting, furnishing, empire building, has now become a bolt-hole. A place to disappear from view. To fold up on oneself or to begin the covert tunnel to freedom. Collapsed through unyielding concrete.
And overseeing it all, me. A giant, life-size (to a child) cuddly panda bear. Doleful black eyes by stitched design and in flayed tissue; being a constant locus of stubby-fingered gouges and small-fisted punches. One of my ears has been torn off and cannibalised to thwart restoration or any semblance of wholeness. My white pelt has been dulled by blood transference. Not from within, since I'm laced only with cotton padding, but from the multifarious child protagonists who assault themselves with one hand, even as they slam and cuff my fluffy abdomen with the other.
For I preside over a nursery for troubled children. Children observed in their behaviour behind one-way mirrors. Children who have to be taught how to play. Boy, could I tell the Docs a thing or two. Since behind their glass partition, they can't hear what's whispered into both my good and my missing ear. The inner tormentors of these biddable kids, who let slip their visors and announce themselves to me with persecutory menace. The child's identity bartered away for beans at the slave auction that is this therapy room. So it remains my burden to bear all the stigmata of these benighted young souls, just like the priest in his Confessional.
Save the panda. Save the children.