Day 14 of Fortnight of Flash! – Final Entry
What makes a childhood? Where does childhood begin and and, when does adulthood start? I can look at snippets of memory pulled from the banks, from the beginning, the earliest memories, swimming, with my Dad, Dad holding me up in the surf, the warm waves of the Adriatic, looking out onto the mainland of turkey, or the Mediterranean. LIstening to the sound of water in a shell on a beach somewhere in this world.
Memories of England, hot little apartment, warming by the fake fireplace.
At four getting my glasses for the first time and could finally see the memories clear after that point. Feeling left out after my sister was born. The two of us and that house in Minnesota, in the summer, before bed time, lying in bed and listening to the sounds of the older kids in the neighborhoods still playing, crack of sunlight under my curtain.
Getting out of my bed and going down to the end of the hallway, hearing the Bee Gees in my parents’ house, and seeing guys in afros and suits dancing downstairs with women in frilly dresses, and everyone smoking.
Star Wars sheets and plush carpeting, then MIami and humidity, and seeing a tent city of refugees under the highway while driving down from Minnesota.
I remember quarter sized blisters on my arms from the Puerto Rico heat. The way my neck felt after hundreds of Red ants bit my neck in 4th grade. Getting a ball kicked in my stomach and having the wind knocked out of me, and thinking how this was it, that my life was over.
Sixth grade and the way the punch tasted at our graduation party. The way my first girlfriend’s hand felt in mine, like we were getting away with everything just by doing that.
First touchdown pass from Dan Marino to Mark Clayton in the end zone, to win in OT. The way every fan in the entire stadium had their feet leave the ground for just a second. The roar of that crowd. The smell of Jerk chicken my friend’s mom made, the way the Haitian spices smelled.
First time I smelled mangroves, hiking back there as a teenager. The inside of a boat out at sea.
Then South Carolina, and lots of pine, and heat. Then Portland, with damp rain smells, same as England, the smell of slugs. then falling in love, then feeling like anything can and will happen and its positive. First time teaching in front of students, and first hand that goes up is a “Fuck you mister Strong!” Then hard work, then hours of earning their respect, then graduation, then Vancouver and please and thank you, and heck and respect, then the day each of my kids were born, and feeling the happiest I have ever felt, and love and family unit and Saturday Mornings and writing and soccer and life going back and forth the whole thing leading up to this other thing that’s really just another year, but a big year, 40.
I’d flown around the world by the time I was two. I’ve been on the back of a backpack through the great pyramids, I don’t remember a single frame of it.