It’s our son, they tell the doctor, voices so hushed he has to lean forward across his desk. He’s stretched to 18 stories and he’s not yet ten. He scrapes against the sky, darkens everything in his path. The sky chafes from the scuffing of his granite against gas. The sun beats against his windows, rails against the long shadows our boy casts on sidewalks, on people, even on other buildings, but he’s only applying what we taught him early: how to use materials that make him strong, how to combine artifice and charm to advantage. He’s a cheeky building, for the most part. But advanced for his age. He does—the endocrinologist drapes completely across his desk to catch these last words, his tie dangling over the side—eat quite a bit these days.
The doctor wishes they’d speak up. He is tired of straining. He sprained his back at squash the day before and now it’s really starting to hurt. He reverse-rolls back into his chair, folds his hands, assumes what he hopes is a thoughtful pose. He tells them he is impressed by their son’s growth but stumped at its speed. Never seen anything like it, he says to the parents, who’d asked for an emergency consultation. I’m stymied. Not sure how to curb such a spurt. Have you tried withholding concrete? Adding timber for fiber? Sounds like he’s eating you out of house and home. He chuckles at his own joke, cracks his knuckles.
The parents sag in their chairs. The father reddens and bricks begin to crumble and flake like dandruff onto the office floor. The mother splinters, her awnings droop like eyelids weighted with failure. Mother and father rise, gather shards and beams, dust themselves off. They shuffle out of the clinic, puffing and strutting their bravest façades, head home to their son with nothing more than a shrug to offer, a quick stop first to the market. They’ve tried for a decade to raise him right. Now this. They regard each other through shuttered windows, make their decision. Perhaps today’s not the day to tell him he’s adopted.
work appears in The Ekphrastic Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Intima, Thimble Literary Magazine, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent, Popshot Quarterly, The South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Feral, The Phare, Sledgehammer Lit, Flash Boulevard, New World Writing, and elsewhere. She has several Pushcart nominations and one for Best Microfiction 2022.