On nights when I am unable to sleep, I find myself going down into the basement, to the “time machine”.
Most nights, I just sit and watch, looking for some blinking light, listening for a sound.
Last night, for the first time I put my left ear to the sealed compartment, hands on either side of my head and closed my eyes.
I don’t know what I was hoping for, but amid the humming and subtle vibration reverberating through the metal, I heard sing-song voices, much like those of children playing in back gardens somewhere in the suburb, in late afternoon light that filters down through the trees.
I listened until, through the almost imperceptible sounds, I heard my name:
Soft and whispered.
At first I though it was my imagination, but I heard it again, this time, more certain, more audible.
It is said that on the day of my birth, my mother turned her head and blasphemed.
My father, I am told, rushed to the Registries Office and when asked what the name will be, he stood back, clapped his hands together and exclaimed:
– Gentlemen, Brown!
And that was that. A comma and a pause. So I was named.
Shortly before my sixth year, my mother locked me in the basement, moments after receiving an “unexpected” gentlemen friend.
She, however, informed me that I was being punished for failing to wash my hands prior to tea, contrary to her instructions.
When I heard the grandfather clock strike twelve midnight from the sitting room above me, I knew that my mother had forgotten to let me out.
It was then that I shat my navy blue sailor suit, a gift from Aunt Edna.
Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. I say it serves her right.
Driving with a drunk male companion behind the wheel could get you killed.