Roses and Begonias; Or, Things That Can Crush You

by J.H. Bond

We’re in a bathroom at McDonald’s and it smells like pee and I’m helping my dad put his makeup on. It’s his eyebrows that he struggles the most with. They’re supposed to arc like dark rainbows high up on his forehead. He can’t do them in the mirror—they look like mountains.

“Get ’em even, Mitchell,” Dad tells me, as he kneels down, eye-level.

I’m always drawing pictures. Now I’m drawing one on my dad. His real eyebrows are gone, lost under a mask of white. I give him some new ones with a makeup pencil, then paint the tip of his nose bright red.

He pulls on his stockings. Zips up his yellow-gold jumpsuit. I hand him his giant shoes and ask how come they’re so big. Goofy factor, he says.

He fits on his wig and it blazes like fire.

“How do I look?” he asks me.

“Like a clown,” I say.


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