Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The people who raised you, siblings, if you have any--they have stuff. Maybe they have objects, things saved for sentimental reasons, still kicking around. Regardless, they have other things--accumulated emotions that have collected in a deep pool from which all can freely draw.

But I can't really talk about those things right now. As for the objects--the other day I came across a diary I had kept sporadically when I was an adolescent. I received it from some family friends for my eleventh birthday, or "for my birthday 11," as I inscribed it.

Excerpts from my diary: "I really hate Townley because she bothers me." "I got the Clinique bonus with English Pink lipstick and the Lancome bonus w/ some liquid eyeliner." "Don't be cute!" "I have an obsession with Adam. Of course, forget that. Forget that. It's so ridiculous. Don't even think about it. Dave I don't really care about now. I used to like him so much I think. I can't really remember. Anyway, who cares. More later."

Adam and I got married, but otherwise I don't want to relate to this petty, obsessive person. In my last entry ("DEC 30 I think 1986") I conclude, "I can develop myself from within and try to have a beautiful personality. It's very difficult though."

Paging through albums, watching ourselves grow up, my sister paused at a photo of our family taken in Lynchburg, Virginia ("I wish I had friends in Lynchburg. I hate my teachers they give us so much work"), where we'd moved after our parents' divorce. We're in the dining room of our house. She must be about twelve. She looks like she's eaten mushrooms and they're starting to kick in. I'm standing behind her with my arms folded over my chest, wearing dark glasses. Our mom is giving the camera a lovely smile.

Where was I going with this? It's really hard to think.

Those other things, the things I can't talk about, are trying to come in.

I can hear my mother, full of hearsay and popular opinion. The phone rings after polite hours for phoning have ended and she speaks in a flat, tired voice, so I know who it is, and then hangs up abruptly. Memories are like granite over which the days flow, but it's hard to know anything for sure. If there's anything to know for sure. My grandmother's house still smells like a dog that died years ago. I saw a photograph of her as a child. Her hair is bobbed and she's standing on a split-rain fence, calmly watching the photographer manipulate those unwieldy glass plates, balancing there without moving.

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