Overwhelm. Voices demanding I type. I wake maybe four or five times in the night and use ThereThere to get back to sleep and to stop brain typing in my mind. She works well but the urge and resistance are effortful, and the rest feels interrupted.
Monkey tugs on my arm, wanting to take me to the garage growing up where I am holed up on a hot July afternoon.
It was very hot and stuffy in that garage. It was kind of falling down. The dust was coating our throat. There were so many cushions. Do you remember the orange sunflowers, the plastic cushions?
Do you remember how you wished you could read and lose yourself in a book?
Do you remember having brought stuff to write with? You were going to write a book.
I remember wanting it to rain. I wanted the weather to change, but I do
not remember why. I remember having nowhere to go. I remember wondering what would become of me. I was a little kid. Maybe eight? Nine?
Do you think it is normal to be all alone on a hot summer day in a garage when you're that age?
Kids hole up, right?
What are you doing on a hot summer day hidden in a garage wishing for rain?
I don't know.
Maybe it was a safe place.
I don’t know Monkey, and I don’t like being forced to try and remember.
Stretching our memory is like stretching a frozen body.
I am scared of losing my grasp on reality, my life as I know it, my grip. I don’t want to be making stuff up.
You are not losing. You are getting back.
Do you know what happened to the children, the ones from the beginning? Maybe they know something about that garage.
You need to summons them directly. One of them may know more.
Children? Are any of you there?
We are. Where have you been?
I started a Sandbox. It's been busy. Do you guys know about the garage?
What do you know?
It was a hiding place, but you didn't realize it.
You’ve lost your mom to the hairbrush, your dad to the spoon. Your brother is trying to suffocate you. You are young, blind, asleep to what is going on.
Why didn't I at least say something to someone about Z?
You did. And were told by your mother that you get what you deserve. You are in the garage now, hiding from all that you deserve.
How long will this meditation go on for?
No one knows how long. You have a lot to sort through.
What becomes of me?
What becomes of you is not the question. You are always in a process of becoming.
What would make me happy?
To use your pages to help someone else through, to know that this is not all for nothing, that you could have helped one person feel less lonely or afraid.
Remain true. Even if truth isn't pretty or poetic or the color you want or the exact sentence or image handed down from the Not Gods. Be true to the garage and what it is whispering to you. Be true to the nine-year-old that is calling out to you now. Be true to the day in front of you.
Thank you for visiting again. Have you met Monkey?
Of course. He is one of us.
This is the last entry for the year, and I find myself back in the garage memory that Monkey brings. I am nine years old, lying atop a stack of orange and green lounge chair cushions, big sunflower patterns on plastic cushions.
I am reading or trying to. It is summertime. I feel like I should be happy –– it's just me and my book and the hot stagnant summer air, dust coating the windows and my throat. I tell myself I should be happy because there is nothing better in life ––just me and a book. I have also brought out blank sheets of paper, and I tell myself to write. I have an entire summer stretched out in front of me. You have everything you ever wanted here in this garage, hidden, away, just you, your book and your blank sheets of paper. This is all you need, I tell myself, now and forever.
Isn't that right?
Oh, how I wish I could have grabbed that kid and shaken her and told her to run to the neighbors, to open her mouth and speak. I wish I could have told her that she didn't have everything she needed in that garage, that she, in fact, had nothing, that a book and blank sheets of paper would not stop the storms. I would have told her that there were reasons she woke every morning in agony. I would have told her that little girls are not supposed to hear their bodies so often slamming up against hard walls and fists and carpet and earth. That her breath should never be stolen from her. I would have told her it isn't her fault and that no one deserves to be beaten and not protected. I would have asked her to come out of the garage, to come with me and to tell me everything and that I would never, for one second, stop listening. I am here, I would have told her. I am here, I would have whispered, and shouted and cried out so loudly that maybe, decades later she would finally be able to hear those words, the ones that escaped her, the ones she tried to find in her books and her blank sheets, the sheets I fill finally and forever for her.
I am here ... I am here ... I am here.
Pete leaves me to write this morning. He goes onto the couch and reads the paper. He says he wants me to have my space. I appreciate this but also prefer him to be next to me but asleep. I like him to be here … but not here.
I went to the gym yesterday, a sprint workout in mind. I warm up and then begin my first mile. No sooner, maybe thirty seconds to a minute into the sprint, do I get a flash — I cannot tell if it’s a flashback or just a flash. My father has arrived back from a party. I smell his breath in my mind, feel his lips as I run. I am very young and am being kissed, over and over again, in my canopy bed.
After I finish my workout, sweating, I grasp for anything. Paper — magazine –– anything to write on –– and I find in my bag only one thing: It is the copy that was given to me by Elaine, Multiple Selves, Singular Self.
I then grab a pen like a knife, as if to defend myself, my body drenched, and I write a note: mile one — father — kisses — lavender bed.
I am writing fast, scribbling, fearful that I would somehow forget this over and over again until the forgetting becomes never happened, and the never happened smolders inside until one day it bursts into flames, presenting my self, my selves, with choice: Wake up to this fire or have it burn you to the ground.
Goodbye, 2013. You will surely remain remembered if not well recorded. You are marked with more words than I thought imaginable.