Theme VIII: Body, “The Frog”

By William Bedouin

For the past few days every time I’ve tried to stand up I fall down or ‘collapse’. Even switching from sitting on my bruised bottom to squatting, which I did on my bathroom floor this morning, laying out my clothes underneath the sink so that they don’t get crinkled or a big wet bottom stain on them if I fall out of the shower after picking up my soap, proves nearly impossible. And then if I want to do my hair or put on a t-shirt I have to cycle through standing and falling standing and falling which takes a very long time because I only move a few feet in any direction during the transition. My neighbors must think I am imitating a frog. They are cruel people who look into my windows with binoculars and point and laugh with all their friends. I try to close my curtains but I cannot reach up quickly enough to grab them and pull them together like I have seen people on TV do, with a big huff and dressed in a nightgown that is slightly open when they see the young boys outside with their binoculars. But those women are prettier than me, with larger breasts and unbruised bottoms and they do not fall when they stand up. My neighbors can’t see me opening my eyes on the floor — the windows only start at my waist — only me getting up and then going down and they must look at each other and say look! She thinks she is a frog! She is so stupid! Hop Hop they say to each other and then everybody laughs. But I am not imitating a frog.

Now I lay on my stomach when I want to do my hair or go to my closet and wriggle forward beneath the windows. The women on TV could not do this because their chests would stop them from getting as close to the ground as I can and their neighbors would then laugh at them and say that she is imitating a snake! I stay very close to the wall as well because if I was in the middle of the room then my neighbors could still see me even though the windows only start at my waist, because of their ‘height’ and ‘angle’. I read a book on it. It was laying on the floor in my work bag which I haven’t used for 4 days because I have not left my apartment, so it was ‘meant to be’. Yesterday I spent the whole day marking out my apartment with tape and pencils and post-it notes and other things in my bag so I know where I can crawl without my neighbors seeing me, even with their binoculars. I left the TV on so I can still watch it but I can not change the channel because the door between my room and the main room is a ‘no go zone’. I lay down on my stomach by the bottom of my bed and watch the women on TV move around in their nightgowns and talk with each other and say things like I can’t believe you! or kiss me! or how dare you! and I know what they’re really saying.

I crawl forward until my head is in a ‘no go zone’ and look up at my neighbors and try saying it too. I squint my eyes and say I can’t believe you! How dare you! Kiss me!

I try moving my hands around as well, down at my sides. How dare you! I say and open up all my fingers and move my hands up and down. When it gets very serious they do a close up and the women furrow their eyebrows, and you know that This Is The Last Straw. I try pouting but all I can do is make my nose move up a little so I furrow my brow until my eyebrows are almost touching and I whisper kiss me!

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