When I was 6 and seven we lived in Flowermound, Texas on a dirt road in a blue house with a porch. We killed snakes on the concrete porch when they’d roam from the empty lots surrounding us and onto our stoop with the blades of our shovels. They always left a dirty red stain that faded to brown. My mom sewed me dresses with lace collars and curled my bangs the way you did in the 90’s and I wore white socks and “clickety” shoes and smiled with a mouthful of missing teeth for a Sunday morning portrait of my family.
The grass was always prickly but we had a pet dog – the one would only eat some specific golden retriever dog food – and a swing set and on the corner of our lot, there was a tree. What I remember most about those years is this tree, my bedroom dormer and it’s window’s, the night I learned how to ride my bike on just two wheels and the night our dog had puppies.
I remember other things, like both times I cracked my head open on the fireplace. The fact that I was forced to quit sucking my thumb and the microwave clock that I had to stare down as it counted the seconds I was allowed to sooth myself according to the program my dentist had me on in order to grow out of comforting myself. I played alone.
I was the youngest so I have a lot of memories with just my mom, when all my siblings were in school, I’d get to have special one on one time. Running her errands, grocery shopping, eating her diet foods. She watched General Hospital and all I remember was the lady with really long hair, how I wanted that hair. And to kiss a man with that kind of conviction. Like I could tell him all my secrets if only I could close my eyes and press against him.
I knew I loved animals and babies and everything miniature. Doll house accessories, tiny baby dolls. And paper. I loved my imagination. I had a lot of thoughts when I was little, but was so surprised that no one ever asked to hear them. Everyone was always asking the adults and my bigger siblings about their thoughts, but they didn’t ask me. I talked to myself often, I talked to God and my angels as if I was breathing words. I was my best friend.
And then I learned to write.