He is a small child. Even to himself he feels small. Everything seems to loom down from above. Outside, the few steps to the sidewalk seem like a cliff, a steep cliff. The steps touch one side of the sidewalk, the roadway the other. Cars whiz past not ten feet from his seat on the top step. Walking up the narrow street the row houses tower over him on both sides. All are old and shabby looking. Even as a boy he can feel the dullness of this street, And to the boy, the neighbourhood is this street. This street is his whole life. And there are no trees, no flowers, no living thing. Not until the street ends with the paved school years at one end. To the side of that yard there are a few scarce trees. Tree that are thinner than the boy.
Thinking back on this childhood moment brings forth no bursts of colour. Only black and white, and grey. Lots of grey. There’s no memory of the sun shining. The only thing that has colour is the brown leather barber’s strap. There was a big man in the house. He held the strap and smacked it on his hand constantly. Walking back and forth behind the boys on the couch. Threatening, begging for a reason to use it on them…any reason will do. There was no movement, no sound. There was only fear.