I didn’t know I was a gorilla until I saw it in my mother’s face. My girlfriend Tracy spent the night in sixth grade, and at two o’clock in the morning, we were laughing and listening to the radio. Walls were thin, and sounds penetrated drywall between bedrooms.
As KEWB channel 91 blasted rock and roll, Dave Clark’s “Over and Over,” came on. Tracy and I hysterically shrieked while I turned up the knob on my ivory plastic clock radio with the red calligraphic dial face fifty times, up and down, five decibels as Dave sang ‘over and over and over.’ We slapped our legs and almost peed our pants, it was so funny.
My mom whipped open my bedroom door, hulking larger than life, looking like a giant gorilla let out of her cage. Snorting, frothing in hyperventilated rage through her blue-eyed bulging sleepiness, she looked like a jungle mother ready to kill her young.
Tracy instantly pretended to be asleep, lay quiet, closed her eyes. I scrunched down under my covers, closed one eye, and watched my mom as she stumbled past the foot of my bed toward my radio with a vengeance. My mom reached over the end of my bed and pulled the plug out of the wall by its cord. Waving the cord in my face she leaned in close, spitting through her teeth. Spitting nails comes to mind.
“If I hear one more word out of you, you have HAD it.” She was a heartbeat away from ripping hair out of my head with her bare hands. Tracy silently convulsed, and I contorted so hard my covers came off.
My mom really looked like a gorilla, it was there in her face, plain as day. She had a volcanic energy that really surprised me with its intensity, but I knew I was the same as her. I had the same power. It was my inheritance.