The man was no longer just another one of the men, he was my mother's husband. He was still quiet. About all things, not just his shoes. His silence made me feel uneasy most all of the time i spent with him. Which was a lot. We no longer lived in the seedy apartment, we had moved to a house on the beach. I not only had a room now, i had TWO! It was much quieter there at night, but my sleep pattern remained the same as before. I was a 7 year old insomniac. I didn't have any idea of that word.
In pictures I always looked a mess. Clothes looked wrinkled on my lanky frame even when they weren't. My curly locks always looked bed messed. The dark circles under my eyes were topic of daily conversation by one adult or another. I didn't have the tools of understanding yet to deduce why they were there. The most common offering was that my eyes must just be large and casting a shadow. Absurd in retrospect.
With the absence of intriguing noise at night I would fill my restlessness with reading. Anything I could find in the house. Quickly running out of the age appropriate material that littered my rooms I moved on to the magazines that the man kept in the bathroom, under the sink, beneath the extra toilet paper. Playboy. The first time I noticed it i had wondered why my parents hadn't told me about this stack of magazines about playing! Noticing that the woman on the cover was almost nude didn't register as being odd. The pictures didn't arouse any sensation at all. What did was opening its pages and seeing the amount of unread words! So my time alone was spend reading about things I probably should not have. People would audibly wonder where my cynical remarks would come from. Most were dismissed as being because I was an "old soul". That term always upset me. I didn't understand what a soul was. I also didn't see anything redeeming in it being old. When people would say it in front of my mother she would move her head and make a face that was to be taking credit for my abnormality. She would always credit herself for whatever it was that cause interest in me. Being a child nothing is ever truly your own.