The Little White Chair
  Amanda Besserer

Attention all snoops: This diary is property of Mary Bell. Do not touch, or there will be consequences.

Put it back,

Mary Bell, April 1991

April 5th 1991

I'm 8 years old and I just moved in to a house on Maple Street with my mom, my dad, and my dog Duchess. My brother used to live with us too, but he went off to university. None of my friends' brothers are old enough to go to university, but I was born backwards and inside out when my brother was already a teenager.

I'm writing this from my little white chair. I like to bring my little white chair with me everywhere. I stand on it when my mom makes cookies, I bring it to the living room to eat my dinner while I watch TV, and lately I bring it with me to spy on the eye-taliens next door just to make sure nothing fishy is going on. Dad says that some eye-taliens are attached and some are not.

My favourite movie is Goodfellas with Joe Pesci. Dad used to dress in nice tracksuits with lots of gold jewellery, just like the goodfellas. He even used my mom's hairdryer with lots of hairspray, and he'd wear lots of Aqua Velva. He hasn't done that since he stopped working. Maybe he feels so bad because our new house is a "real shithole," like I heard my brother tell Jimmy on the phone.

My dad decided we were moving without telling my mom. That made her real mad.

Anyways, it's so cool that we live next door to some real life eye-taliens. Sometimes, when I'm smooshing little red spiders on the fence between our house and the eye-taliens, I try to look around their backyard and into their windows to see if I can catch them doing anything that looks attached. They're both really old, and that means they're really high up in the family. So far, I haven't observed anything cool happening. I just don't want a hitman to come by and shoot my dog.

When I grow up, I want to be like Joe Pesci, or Travis Bickle (because he'll drive a taxi anytime anywhere).

April 20th 1991

Things have been really bad at home since my mom started driving the Marcedes. She always says that her best dreams in life are to own a blue Marcedes, and a mink coat. She was really excited to show me this stupid car. She said it came with her new job. When we went out to the parking lot, I saw a car that was the biggest piece of crap I ever saw in my life. I pointed to it and said, "Well, at least it's gotta be better than that one!" And that's when she told me that was it! I was starting to get real confused. Why are we living in a shithole and driving a rich people car? Why would anyone want a car with just two seats? When I bring a friend to the mall, they get to sit in the front seat, and I get to sit in the back that's not even a real seat. At least I don't have to wear a seat belt.

I'll tell you one thing - Dad sure hates that Marcedes. He said it's not actually our car, that it belongs to Mom's new boss. My dad thinks my mom is cheating. That's a secret.

May 15th 1991

My house isn't really a house, it's actually an apartment. In the front yard, there's a big ugly spruce tree that has all sorts of wasps in it, and it sucks up all the nutrients from the ground, so not even grass can grow. The backyard is made of sand, and then there's a ditch, and then the train tracks. Every time a train goes by, the house starts to shake. Dad says I'll get used to it, but it still scares me.

My house is right in the middle of the street, so on one side I can see all the way to my friend Christy's house, and on the other side I can see all the way to Katie's. I like Christy better than Katie because Katie is kind of slow. I'm not supposed to tell people my mom said that. It's a secret. She said it after she found one of my troll dolls in the deep fryer - we were playing hide the troll earlier. Whatever...

This is the smallest house we've lived in so far. My mom and dad say it's because my brother went off to university, but I think there's something else going on. This is the first summer that my brother isn't coming home from school. He's going to the Arctic to look for diamonds! My mom likes those too. Maybe he'll find her some. I'm really excited that he's not coming home because his girlfriend Jenny is coming to stay with us so that she can babysit me. She lets me wear her strawberry lipgloss, and she always watches Carmen Sandiego with me. My mom and dad call Jenny Miss Piggy, which I think is really mean.

May 30th 1991

Everybody's fighting. There is something going on that I don't understand. My dad is getting really jealous of Matt, my mom's boss, even though he's married. It's all he ever talks about anymore, and it's making my mom really pissed off.

My mom also gets mad when my dad has his "attacks" at night. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Dad thinks he's having a heart attack, so we get all dressed and go to the hospital. But he's never really having a heart attack, he's having nervous attacks. I think Mom wishes they were real heart attacks.

June 1st 1991

My dad really likes my best friend Bradley's mom Jackie. He likes to bring me over to Bradley's house to play, and I'm not supposed to tell my mom, but I can say it in here because this is a diary and it's for secrets.

I also beat Mario 3 without using any warp zones. Some levels are a real bitch. I can say that in here.

Sometimes I make mistakes. Yesterday, my mom asked me where my dad went the day before. That day we went to Jackie's, so I tried to make up a lie, but I told her that we had to go to Jackie's to fix her underpants. Well, my mom called Jackie and then my parents fought all night long - the kind of fighting I don't even want to listen to on my little white chair, so I put on my Walkman and listened to the Beach Boys.

June 15th 1991

When I got home from school today, I saw my dad's brown leather suitcases at the front door. I was sad because I was excited to tell my parents about how much my teacher liked my limericks. She said mine were the only ones in the whole class that had a theme. I wrote about episodes of Dateline I watched.

Once there was a boy named Phil
Who overdosed on a big pill
He ran into a post
While he was eating his toast
And that's how he became very ill

My dad came to pick up his suitcases without saying goodbye. He must be mad because I gave his secrets away.

June 22nd 1991

My mom decided to host a dinner party for her boss and his family. One of his kids, Josh, is my age exactly, but I don't like him because he's an egotistical moron. Mom made beef stroganoff. I don't know what that is, but it looked like barf, so I had peanut butter instead. I don't think any of the other guests liked it either because no one really ate anything. I think that made her real sad, so she drank too much red wine. For some reason, their family is better than ours, and my mom wants to be just like them, and have all the things they have. Matt's family went home, but he stayed behind because my mom was puking. I was exhausted from playing with Josh all night, but I couldn't sleep because I heard weird noises. When I went into the living room, I saw my mom and Matt starting to do sex. I ran into my room and pushed my little white chair against the door, but they came in anyway. They told me I didn't see anything, but I did. It's a big secret. I'm getting tired of keeping so many secrets.

The next day, my dad found out about the dinner party and he was furious! He broke through the door. He didn't look like my dad at all, he looked like a homeless man, and he smelled like booze. He lives with his friend Willy now, and they drink like all the time. I think my dad has really lost his marbles. He ripped the phone out of the wall in the kitchen, and threw it against the wall in the living room. Then he pushed my mom against the wall so hard that she couldn't breathe. I yelled at him to stop, but he told me to go to my room, so I did. I sat beside my little white chair and wrote my secrets down. I kept looking at my phone and wondering if I should call the cops, but I didn't want my dad to go to jail. After everything was over, I picked up the pieces of the broken phone, and I took them to school for show and tell. I wanted to show everyone what the insides of a phone looked like. No one asked how it broke.

July 30th 1991

Bad things keep happening. Today I learned a new word - "embezzlement." I came home from Christy's and found my dad crying. He said that Mom wouldn't be home for a while. When I asked why, he showed me the newspaper. It said that my mom embezzled some money and that she was going to jail. Embezzlement is when you move money that isn't yours from one place to another. Dad said she had to sleep at jail, but she could go to work during the day. I still wasn't allowed to see her, and that is very sad.

She's been gone for 29 days. I know that because it's the 29th day in a row that we've had French fries for dinner.

My dad is always very irritable, so I try to leave him alone. I go to my friends' houses a lot because no one is allowed to play at my house anymore, or I sit on my little white chair and play Nintendo and listen to the Wayne's World soundtrack. At least when my Walkman is on, I can't hear my dad crying.

August 4th 1991

My friend Christy lives at the end of the street near Copeland. She has really straight blonde hair, and her neck smells like grilled cheese. Sometimes her mom gets these headaches and she has to sit in the dark all day. She makes this moaning sound that really scares me. Christy's dog Tawny is so old that he drags his feet behind him. Her dad has already made him a coffin with a big cross on it. They keep it in the basement.

This is the biggest secret - I think I'm a lesbian! Me and Christy play this game where we sneak off by ourselves. One of us gets to be the boy and the other one gets to be the girl. Christy likes to be the boy, and I don't mind. Then we pick our favourite spots to be rubbed and we pretend to do sex. We both always pick "down there." Every time we do it, it feels a little more wrong. Are we doing something wrong?

August 17th 1991

My brother is home from up north for a while. He's mean a lot, but I still love him. He's being really annoying right now because Jenny broke up with him for some guy named Barry. My brother's so sad that he keeps playing the same Crowded House songs over and over. Does love always have to hurt so much? Shoot me in the brains! Dad's gone to the lake, which means he's on a bender.

August 20th 1991

Mom got out of jail. Boy was I glad to see her, even though I'm mad that she left me. She's not living with us right now, she's living in some weird apartment that always smells like burnt things. Her and Dad told me they're getting divorced. I'm okay with that because I don't like fighting, but my brother is very sad. Mom says she has to save up money so that she can have custody of me. I hate living with Dad.

September 4th 1991

This weekend, me and my mom are moving out of this house and I'm so glad! I think it's cursed or something because my whole life has changed. I'm only almost 9 and I've lived in 5 different houses already, and none of them were so sad.

It's fall, and Mom wanted to move before I started school. A weird thing happens at this old house in the fall. The backyard, which usually looks like a giant sandbox because nothing grows there, was taken over by what I thought were pumpkins. When I took a closer look, they were more like pumpkins with small pox. (I read about small pox in the new book of knowledge under "S.") I was really pissed off that they weren't pumpkins. Mom says they're goo-ords and that they're good for nothing. There must have been 20 of them! I don't know why, but I just wanted them all to die, so I took them up to the balcony and then I smashed them on the driveway. It made me feel so much better to see their ugly guts spilled out all over the pavement. I imagined that those deformed pumpkins were all the secrets that I had to keep. Mom was so pissed off at me when she came home to find a driveway full of guts that she made me put them all in a garbage bag, and take them out to the curb. And then I took Mom's keys from the kitchen and scratched the whole side of the Marcedes because that dumb car is even worse than this house, and those retarded pumpkins.

Right before we drove away with the moving van, I took my little white chair and I put it at the curb.

I think I'm too big for it now.

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