July 24, 2006

Me And My Shadow #1

There were 15 months when I was myself, but I don't remember them. I have a couple little wisps here and there - the sound of my parents' voices reading to me; my mother's soft hair; the moments after the ostrich at the zoo bit me and my father swung me up on his shoulders, praising his 'brave girl' (I remember struggling to control my face, desperately wanting to meet his expectations, to please him). But that's all - I don't remember me, me alone.

Of course, at the time I didn't know that those 15 months were all I would ever have. I was busy storing up little bits of understanding of the world - I wasn't old enough to have begun storing up understanding of myself, of my family, of people. That sort of understanding takes a lifetime to achieve, or more, and I had hardly begun back then. There were those 15 months. And then there was After.

I don't remember my sister as a baby, either. Not even wisps. My memory produces her the way magicians produce their doves - not there at all, then Poof! Another body laying under the table or leaning against mine on the couch. Someone else listening to the sound of books being read aloud by my parents, listening to the Disney-ized versions of Bambi and Pinocchio playing on the reel-to-reel tape player. Someone else using my toys, someone else digging in the yard, someone else in the wading pool, someone else in the room always, following me everywhere.

For 15 months there was me. Then there was me and my shadow...


Anonymous galynn said...

You have such a flare! And the book will be available when...?

10:26 PM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

You *do* have such a flare. I read this and then sat for a minute, trying to imagine what it is like to be a sibling -- from Julia's point of view. I love this, because I don't have siblings (well, I have 2 half-brothers who are ten and twelve years younger than me, respectively, and whom I've just recently gotten quite close to), so it's neat to read your perspective.

You write so well.

1:11 PM  

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