The Boy from Lam Kien am Books I took twenty seven steps and then I stopped Next to the juniper bush Lam Kien Beauty Salon was before me and my front door was behind me It s not agoraphobia becau
The Boy from Lam Kien am Books I took twenty-seven steps and then I stopped. Next to the juniper bush.Lam Kien Beauty Salon was before me,and my front door was behind me. It’s not agoraphobia, because I am not actually afraid of leaving the house.The fear hits about twenty-seven steps away from the house, right around the juniper bush. I have studied it and determined that it is not a real bush, and I have reversed this theory, and I have done everything I can not to turnaround and go home, even if it means standing there forever. I was eating some of the inedible juniper berries when the door of Lam Kien opened and a little boy stepped out. Perhaps Lam Kien’s son, Billy Kien. Or maybe Lam Kien was not a name at all but a translation of the words “beauty salon,” or “nails ‘n’ such.” Young Kien remained by the door, and I stayed in my twenty-seventh step. He seemed to be waiting for me to move forward. Weren’t we all. When it became clear that this was never going to happen, he yelled out to me.I have a dog!I nodded. What’s his name?The boy looked sad for a moment, and I realized he did not actually have a dog. I felt honored to be chosen as the person who believed he had a dog. I was the right woman for this job; he had chosen well to choose me. Finally, he yelled out, Paul!, and I dutifully imagined Paul: running with the boy, loving the boy, the boy feeding Paul.Do you have a dog? Paul’s owner asked, walking toward me and stopping in a place where he might get hit by a car.Don’t stand in the street.He walked over to me, stood before me, did not judge me.Do you have any pets? he asked.No.Not even a cat?No.Why not?I’m not sure I could care for a pet. I travel a lot.But you could get a very little pet that wasn’t very hungry.I knew all about those things that weren’t very hungry; my life was full of them. I didn’t want any more weaklings who were activated by water and heat but had no waste and were so small that when they died, I buried them only with forgetfulness. If I was going to bring something new into my home, it would be a big starving thing. But I could not do this. I didn’t tell the boy, because I was just his dog-believer.What kind of pet do you suggest for me? A tadpole.But this will grow up to be a frog. I can’t have a frog in my house, hopping all over the place.Oh, no, it won’t, it’s little! But you’ll need an aquarium.But it will become a frog.No, it won’t! That’s another kind of fish.What kind? A minnow.I let it go. Inside me, next to the place where the boy played with his dog, there was now an aquarium holding one tiny tadpole with no appetite. It swam back and forth, feeling perpetually ready to hop, ready for the air on its back, ready for tremendous, fantastic change. It swam forever and Paul never died, but the boy and I were changing even as we stood together. The boy was growing bored and this was a form of growing up. I was getting depressed and this was my own fault. It was a beautiful day and someone was talking to me of his own free will. But I could see the end in sight: the boy’s shirt had cartoon characters on it and the cartoon characters were leaning away from me, they were taking a step back as the boy stepped forward. He stood right in front of me and pinched my arm and said, Can I see your room?Such relief. Even the pinch was good. I understood completely about needing to hurt someone at the same time that you are giving them something. It was wonderful to have an excuse to go home so quickly. As I shut the door behind us, I took a moment to wonder about the law. Laws about showing children your room when you don’t know their names. But I did know the name of his imaginary dog. I felt I could say the name Paul without admitting I knew he wasn’t real. When the judge told me the boy didn’t have a dog, I would act very surprised,disappointed, even hurt. I would cry a little. Perhaps the boy would be sent to jail for lying to me. I looked at his amazing tennis shoes and knew he would be able to handle it. I, on the other hand, have never been convincingly wear athletic gear, and prison life would kill me.He walked around my living room, touching things that had once meant a lot to me but now seemed beside the point. I own many pieces of abstract art. He touched the art with his fingernails. He picked up a book that was lying on the floor and held it in the air between two fingers. The Subtitle of the book was Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships. I was working through it, word by word. So far I had done Keeping and was just starting on Love. I worried that by the time I got to Committed and Relationships, I would have forgotten Keeping. Not to mention Alive and all the other words. He carried the book like this, between two fingers, into the kitchen. He carefully laid it on the corner of the kitchen floor, and I said thank you and he nodded.Do you have any eggplant Parmesan?I said I did not. We moved into the bedroom. He sat on the queen-size bed and kicked off his shoes and then lay back with his arms and legs spread out like a star. I straightened my brush on the dressing table and quietly slid my hair gel in a drawer. I didn’t want him to see I was the kind of person who wore hair gel, because I’m not,really. A friend left it there. Wouldn’t that be nice? If I had a friend and she brought her hair gel over and she left it here? This is what I would say if I was asked. If he opened the drawer.You should get bunk beds, then you would have more room, he said while pretending to be sucked down into the narrow space between the bed and the wall.What would I do with more room?He now stood, impossibly, between the bed and the wall. A place I had never thought to clean.You don’t want bunk beds?Well, I just don’t see the need for them.You can have a friend spend the night.But this bed is so big, they can sleep in here with me.He gave me a long, strange stare, and my mind bent like a spoon. Why would anyone want to sleep in the bed with me when they could have their own bunk, like on a ship? I asked him if he thought they had bunk beds at Mervyns and he said he thought they did but that I should call first. While I was on hold with Mervyns, he opened the drawer on my dressing table. I blushed. He took out the hair gel and squirted a large amount into his hands and quickly pushed all his shiny black hair straight back and looked in the mirror. He looked like he was standing in a strong wind. We smiled at each other because it was such an incredible look. Mervyns said the bunk beds were only $499. The boy said he thought this was a very reasonable price. He said he would pay a million dollars for bunk beds if he had a million dollars.We walked back to the front door because he said it was time for him to go. He said this apologetically, as if I would not be able to live without him. I said this was for the best because I had a lot of work to do. When I said “a lot of work,” I moved my hands apart to represent all the work. He stared at the space between my palms and asked if I play the accordion. I could feel the accordion between my hands and how impressed he would be if I said yes. I said no, and a pillow fell off the couch by itself. This happens sometimes and I try to ignore it.The boy raised his eyebrows and I saw that I was saved. I do not play the accordion or have bunk beds, but I have these pillows. They move by themselves. I opened the door and he left without saying goodbye. I watched him walk across the street to Lam Kien Beauty Salon. He shut the door behind him. I shut my door and listened to the sucking sound. It was the sound of the Earth hurtling away from the apartment at a speed too fast to imagine. And as all of creation pulled away in this tornado-like vortex, it laughed – the sarcastic laugh of something that has never had to try. I peeked out the window.Beyond the juniper bush, there was just grey smoke swirling in every direction. I shut the curtains so that they overlapped. I walked around the apartment. I stared at the book in the corner of the kitchen floor. I put the cap back on the hair gel. The covers on my bed were all messed up. I ran my hand over the topography of the bedspread. There were river valleys and mountain communities. There was smooth desert tundra. There was a city, and in that city, there was a beauty salon. I look off my shoes and got under the covers. I whispered, Shut your eyes, and I shut my eyes and pretended it was night and that the world was all around me, sleeping. I told myself that the sound of my breathing was really the sound of all the animals in the world breathing, even the humans, even the boy, even his dog, all together, all breathing, all on Earth, all night.. A strange and lovely story about an agoraphobe s encounter with a young boy Miranda July is a filmmaker, performance artist, writer and multi media tour de force Read this and you ll understand why Miranda July is intriguing in any genre.. Good Kindle The Boy from Lam Kien I don't know what the definition of book is supposed to be, but this is a short story that has been bound. That said, the story told in this "book" is a perfect representation, a symbiotic parallel, of its binding. It is a small, beautiful, somewhat strange object that you come across suddenly, spend a few long minutes of quality time with, and then it is gone. The parallels between the act of reading this story, and the content of the story itself, are fantastic. Unrelatedly, I read it at a Caucus event, it was brought to me after I sent out a request to my friend Elizabeth to bring me written salvation from tedium.
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