Tin Ears

The ballet was in.

I remember holding my tiny ears as the cheering raged on.
Loud noises had frightened me since I was a babe.
My father, the leader of the free world, took the podium.
The intense clapping on encouraged me to clasp my ears tighter, however my mother
– always aware of the hungry cameras– tugged them off with a fierce smile.
“Smile honey.”
It was all smiles up on the stage and why shouldn’t it have been, we had won.

But behind the jokes and congratulations my father pronounced in front of his emphatic followers; was the tears, stress, and screaming which had taken place over the last few months of the campaign. It’s unfair as things would have gotten better undoubtedly for the offspring of the president, its also unfair to remember Dad as the psychotically driven madman he could be.

I remember the stench of champagne and tobacco dominating the previously wafting gun powder smell from the party poppers and fire crackers.
Hearing my Father practice his speeches over and over again immunized you against being moved by their words or in my case even caring to listen. But tonight was different, his tone of voice was relaxed as he told stories of being on the road, he wore a natural smile that radiated– regardless of the bright spotlights illuminating him.

With his bright blue eyes he searched through the audience, taking a few seconds break from speaking as he had done countless times before. The news station said it was a psychological gimmick, but I knew that he was looking for someone out among the million faces my father had seen throughout the campaign which had taken him from one end of America and back to here to his final destination.

“My greatest dreams have come true, and I hope through my government that I can help achieve the dreams all American’s hold in their hearts.” Again he paused as everyone hung on to his every last word.
“But this is true in another way,” he began,”I’ve dreamed about this moment, as in when I’m sleeping. I’m standing on this very podium and we’ve won the presidency but it always ends just as I admit that, like just now, I’ve had this very dream before .” And with that his face took a withdrawn look as if his world would collapse into a fading memory of a dream.

His blue eyes widened as in deep shock at seeing something deep within the audience.
Laughter echoed around as if it was all just another joke, but I was close enough to see in his taunt face that he felt a deep primal terror .
With seemingly great effort he forced himself to relax, “Perhaps I should just pinch my arm to be sur-.”

For no apparent reason I covered my ears again.

He fell back against the stars and stripes that hung behind him. My mother rushed to his aid, I didn’t realize at that point the situation until I saw the much darker red stripes that stained the flag slowly to the already blood-soaked floor.

The service grabbed me and my mother while they carried my delirious father off the stage.

From the screaming audience that acrid gunpowder smell returned as cut sharply through the booze, smoke and smiles.



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