short story

The Underdog

 ‘Cause the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan
Image

            I think it all started on a snowy day back in 2008.  My sister planned her son’s third birthday party and asked me, me, to pick up two buckets of chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken. She divvied up the tasks among the family and mine was simple enough, or so I thought. For my mom, this was a different story.  In her mind carrying two buckets of chicken, pictured as two elephants teetering on a tightrope, would be too heavy for me to do. It was; complicated. The job required intelligence and strength. I spelled failure in her eyes.

My mom shook her head. “How can you do it? Handle two buckets of chicken? Two buckets!  What happened if you leave one? You will forget a bucket.”

My mother repeated this a few times, panic grew as her face reddens imaging the catastrophe: a brewing blizzard, me picking up two buckets of chicken, miscalculating everything and only bringing one bucket instead to a party full of hungry people. My sister would cry, saying I ruined her son’s birthday and that I scarred him for life because he would not have that great birthday to remember. As for my mother, she would just tell me “I knew you couldn’t do it, so why bother trying when you will just fail.

She looked at my dad for agreement. He just shrugged. While, my five year old niece standing next to them just laughed, probably thinking even she can handle two buckets of chicken. She won’t forget one.

“No, no I will pick it up,” my mom said.

The door slammed, leaving me alone in nothing but silence and my thoughts. The only thing I had to do was show up to the party and on time too. And, there it was, my mother planted the seed of doubt in my mind and it grew, spreading across my face like a broken inkpot.

No, the seed of doubt actually didn’t start at this moment.  Maybe, it started a further back in my life.