If shame were a color what would it be? A dark red stain on a borrowed mattress, or white gum stuck to the bottom of an unlucky shoe?
For me it’s more like the waxy yellow I scraped from my stepfather’s ears with a Q-tip, to be allowed to stay up until eleven on a school night.
Sometimes he’d make it twelve, if I threw in a shoulder rub. Was it the black curly hairs covering his back? The shame of exploitation?
Shame isn’t so much a colorful moment in time as a regret, and what have I ever done that was so bad?
I regret getting the little retarded boy sent away to a neighboring school, simply because he gave us unwanted bear hugs and we didn’t want his stench to rub off on us.
So we hatched a plan in our roost of cruelty, said he tried to cop a feel on our phantom second-grade breasts, and he just disappeared, like my stepfather after the divorce.
In my twenties I still feel like an awkward twelve-year-old with Coke-bottle glasses and a bad perm trying to conjure spirits in my best friend’s basement.
I doubt she could have felt my misplaced affection when our hands touched lightly on the Ouija board; I was excellent at hiding the truth. [End Page 23]
Megan Edgecombe received her BA degree from Southern Illinois University. She currently lives in Virginia, where she is in the process of applying to graduate school.