claire can't see me.

a mom who is cooler in words than in life.

memory #1: i dare you.

all my memories are fuzzy. i find a lot of my stories are a mixture of cosby episodes, exaggerated truths for poetic effect, daydreams, &  a little of what actually happened. i’m sure the deeper explanation behind this fact deals with some sort of coping mechanism. either way, i feel the need to start a collection of these “memories”.

this came about because i was reading stacia’s online novel (you should be too).

i was no older than nine. i know this because i still lived by linda in a duplex right next to the on site laundry facility. to this day, i still love the smell of a dryer’s exhaust and the sound of a washing machine’s spin cycle. this place was the clubhouse for us nomadic children, dependents of renters, always searching for something to call our own.

we had a four girl deep crew. there were three of us on this day; shannon, linda, and myself.  cecelia’s mom wouldn’t let her play outdoors for long. she was instructed to avoid the open spaces where helicopters could spot her & send her father a digital signal of her whereabouts. at least this is what she told us. we didn’t believe her, but whenever we heard the faint sound of  whirlinghelicopter blades we all hid. no one wanted to be responible for her capture.

linda was my neighbor. & as paper thin as the walls were, a lot of times i felt like we lived in the same house. she had braces & glasses & freckles. she lived with her dad & her brothers. she had the finest older brothers, all of which looked like they could have  been the heart throbs on the cover of teen beat, complete with fold out posters. blue eyed, blond haired, & completely uninterested in little black giggling girls. i didn’t tell linda, but on the days when the laundry room transformed into new york city high rise condos of the upper east side, the husband i was cooking dinner for was her brother. i told her it was kirk cameron.

shannon didn’t officially live in our complex. just like i didn’t officially live on jamaica drive with her at her aunt’s house. we were each other’s home. attached at the hip would be an understatement. we were attached by similar sob stories, twins in our tragedies. two scorpios learning how to control our powers.  but, where i was awkward & unrefined, she was dainty & fragile. i was a bulldozer & she a ballerina. a john casablanca model. black & puerto rican, curly black hair, soft spoken, sensitive & slim. she was my janet jackson before rhythm nation hit the box.

there was a walkway up to our castle, with a wooden hand rail. when the laundry room got too hot, we would extend our playground to the walkway & pretend to be gymnast on the hand rail. the only one of us that took actual classes was shannon. & of course, when she came home, she needed to teach me what she learned. i think you can see where this memory is going.

on this particular day, i was instructed (read: dared) to walk the length of the hand rail. of course it had to be me. linda was too scared & shannon could do it. after all, she was  almost  a full fledged gymnast by now because she’d been to four or five lessons & could pull off a full split. i felt like i had to prove to linda that i was just as accomplished. up i went on the rail & for the few few feet i was magnificent. this tomboyish frame of mine surprisingly graceful, extending my arms & pointing my toes  like the usa olympic team girls did. confidence got the best of me & i tried to attempt a hop…complete & utter fail.

i fell, as stacia wrote, “spread eagle” on the rail & crumbled over the side into the bushes. i heard linda & shannon laughing. it was not a mean girl laugh, but a chortle that youth tends to have instead of logic. i remember the hobble i did back home, holding my myself between my legs & my tears behind my crushed smile. what hurt most was that walk of shame across linda’s portion of the sidewalk in front of her house. the thought of her brothers’ catching me hurt way more than my broken hymen.

 i don’t remember much after that. i know i made it in the house. i know i screamed into the couch cushions  for my mom. i remember not being able to get the words out about what happened. my memory can sort of make out the terror on my mom’s face when she saw her daughter holding herself between her legs & screaming.  an explanation managed to wade through the snot & saliva enough to comfort her fears. i spent the rest of the afternoon & while into dusk sleeping in the fetal position on the couch.

when i woke up, shannon & linda were at the door. they had just returned. linda’s dad took them, and her brothers, out for sundaes. they got to ride in the back of his truck.

story of my life. try to be the hero, end up with a broken hymen, & ultimately miss out on something awesome.

go me!

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2 Comments»

  slb wrote @

that’s amazing storytelling, lei. my real life story resonates w/ yours, except my mom wasn’t there (i was w/extended fam on summer vacation; my cousins egged me on, then laughed till they saw i was hurt) and there was an emergency room rather than a couch involved.

that was when i knew peer pressure was for the birds. lol wasn’t the last time i fell prey to it, but that was when i knew how bogus it was.

  trEmaine wrote @

Dude… *shakes head* Why did I injure the hymen back in the day as well, but I wanted to be one of the boys and ride was it Jasmah or Stacey’s big boy bike??? and called myself trying to hop on and speed off with the rest of the crew??? Um, definitely not good… Memories are beautiful things to conjure up in the wee hours of the evening or day… I’m glad you found one that was easy to locate and not yet trapped inside that wondrous mind of yours. 🙂


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