When i was young, i loved my parents so much it could have qualified as child abuse. My eyes watered each time my mother coughed from the "American chemicals in the atmosphere" or my father clutched at his beleaguered liver. If they died, i died. And their deaths always seemed both imminent and a matter of fact: Whenever i tried to picture my parents souls i thought of these perfectly white Russian snowbanks i saw in history books on the Second World War, all those arrows being drawn into Russia's heart along with names of German panzer divisions. I was a dark blemish upon these snowbanks. Before a was ever born, i had dragged them away just so the fetus inside my mother, that future-Lenny, could have a better life. And one day God would punish me for what i had done to them. He would punish me by killing them.
(...) The fact was that when she kissed my cheek it didn't hurt afterward, nor did it smell of onions. So to tee devil with her good intentions, as my parents might say. She was as alien, a trespasser, a woman i couldn't love back. When i saw her at the door, i threw the first and last punch of my life. It connected with surprisingly narrow mid-torso, where the last of her three boys had just gestated in fine, cushy comfort. Why did i punch her? Because she was alive while my parents were dead. Because now she was all i had left.
(...) - "We all die", Nettie told me, after she had fed me a powdered-cocoa-and-fruit concoction she called "the chocolate banana", whose ingredients and manner of preparation i still don't understand. "But someday you'll have children too, Lenny. And when you do you'll stop worrying about your parents' dying so much."
- Why, Missus Nettie?"
- "Because your children will become life." For a moment at least, that made sense. I could feel the presence of another, someone even younger than myself, a kind of prototypical Eunice person, and the fear of parental death was transferred upon her shoulders.