Pistachios

I remember going to dad’s work around the corner from our home. There was a gum ball machine in the reception area stuffed full of pistachios.

That was my first time trying pistachios. My fingers would be stained red from the shells.

I’m not quite sure why I was at my dad’s work that day. Where was my mom? Was she working?

I remember sunshine beaming through the open garage door, which I could see from where I sat, waiting for dad.

The receptionist was the garage owner’s daughter. There were 3 or 4 of them. They were all so pretty and nice.

Across the street from the garage trailers were neatly lined on a patch of grass facing the road. I believe this was their way of storing them while also advertising them. Adjacent from that patch of grass was the bar that my parents met in.

She was a bartender, he a patron. She was 25, he was 20. She was a mother of 3 and recently widowed, he was fresh out of college. They married in a courtroom.

My mom said she proposed to him. Their reception was at my grandparents house (dad’s parents)—just a few houses down from the garage.

I remember that day. Eating cake. Playing in the creek. Drinking soda from a can. Playing with my uncle—the one that’s only 2 years older than me. At that time I was about 4 or 5 years old.

Look up

The ceiling needs attention just like I did. 

Now that I have the ritual of bathing each night after the boys are in bed, and writing while I soak, I suppose it’s time to share the love and repair our ceiling.  

I can see a crack that’s opened like a wound with brittle edges and a mysterious core.  

Freckles of mold. I should turn the fan on every time I shower, but I don’t. The loud humming disrupts the small pleasure of a shower. 

I should’ve painted the ceiling years ago when we painted the bathroom just before Noah was born. But I didn’t. The idea of painting it felt completely unnecessary at the time. 

In a way, the ceiling is a reflection of my carelessness. That same carelessness that had me in survival mode without any self-care rituals. With a loss of self. I was neglected and falling part.

I’ve cut corners and I’ve lacked discipline. Both of which I’m trying to get better at.  

I wonder what it would feel like to have the bathroom completely finished—tiles framed, ceiling painted, cupboards organized, everything always in a state of clean?  

Co-sleeping

I stayed up too late. I need to be quiet when I walk into the room. I need to keep the flashlight on my phone partially covered with my fingertip to see. Don't step on that creaky floorboard. Keep the handle of the doors turned as it shuts so it doesn’t making that awful loud sound. Turn the white noise machine down so I can actually sleep. Lay on the opposite side of the bed to write that idea down on my phone so that the blue light doesn’t wake him up. Don’t use scented products during bedtime wash to make sure he doesn’t get a whif when I slide into bed. Don’t allow the comforter to create a breeze as I pull it over my body. Don’t toss and turn. Put your phone down. Close your eyes. Get to sleep. He’ll be awake before you know it.

The first time I almost drowned

I almost drowned, twice.  

The first time I was under 10 years old. I wagered with myself how deep I could swim in the cloudy lake. I had to know if I could make it to the bottom. 

My siblings surrounded me yet we’re focused on their own swimming quest.  

My parents watched from the boat—the one we washed and waxed in preparation for the weekend lake-getaways.  

I began my journey to the depths of the lake with each inch of water getting increasingly colder the deeper I reached. 

By the time my fingers brushed the sandy bottom of the earth (I did it!) I had a rush of panic fill my body like a balloon because my body had run out of air. I rushed to the top of the water feeling like I could explode into a white light at any moment. 

Then I found air.  

I gasped, filling every corner of my lungs with plump, cool, fresh, life-giving air.  

I can’t remember if anyone noticed that I almost drowned. I was too freaked out to make a scene. I was also the kind of kid that kept things easy for my parents. 

 

The story of the second time I drowned will have to wait another day. Right now, it’s time for me to go to bed and get some rest for my 5K run.  

Pencil

I’ve never really had a home but most of us don’t. We float around from home to home, being used and lost every few months.  

When I was younger I looked my best. Never dull, never chewed on, never taken for granted.  

Now my age shows. I have scratches from falling, but marks from deep thoughts just before my head hits he paper.  

My first and only sharpen of my life was made by a knife. My point appears faceted like a cut diamond, rather than smooth and pointy like a golf tee.  

I hear that my eraser can harden over time, leaving marks instead of removing them. I hope I take care of myself well enough that that never happens. 

I’m happy to be where I am. I feel it’s where I’m supposed to be. But I sure do miss my brothers and sisters. I wonder how they’re doing?  

I wrote the above as a writing exercise from a workbook I’m using to help me write my book. The workbook is by Beth Kephart, titled “Tell the Truth. Make it Matter.”. It’s funny, like Beth mentions in the workbook, how writing in the voice of something that is not me actually forces me from the shadows. More exercises and writing to come...