Present: I do not know what is worse, getting lost, or getting forgotten. I got both. My story lingers among the dimmed sky, forgotten and lost like I was once, and like I am now.
Past: July seventeen, ten pm. A seven-year-old boy. He was holding his mom’s hand. It was shaking. He believed it was because of the second cigar box she used that day. He was squeezing her left hand while she was holding the cigarette with her right. She held it between her lips, puffing the smoke she would suffocate herself with.
Present: He took a puff. We imitate our models. My mom used to be my model. Seeing her not ever being without a cigarette made me be a prisoner of addiction, not serious, but still, something that won’t give me peace. I remember her getting very aggressive when she would run out of them. She would calm herself with alcohol while waiting for me to buy her a new cigar box.
Past: Her skin was not clear as it used to be when she gave birth to him. Her lips were pale, eyes looked tired, eyebags were darkened and vivid. She was very low on energy. From time to time, she would be very aggressive and would say things to her son she usually would not have. After his father left her, she slowly was transitioning to another person, the one her son knew. – Son, go and have some fun! Here is the money. – She told him, avoiding looking him in the eyes. She threw some coins on the ground and ripped her hand from his. She tucked her left hand below her breast. She was looking to the side, nervously smoking. The boy silently crouched to the ground and took the money his mom gave him. He tried to catch her eyes and see any kind of love but failed. His mom would not give him the satisfaction he craved.
Present: He threw the cigarette on the ground and then some coins. He crouched. He took one out of the few he threw. That was the last time I saw her. The memories crawl to my consciousness from time to time. They are there to remind me of who I am. He observed the rusted coin resting on his palm. The only one I saved. Should I bury it somewhere here?
Past: We are thought to listen to our moms, dads, our caretakers. We believe their intentions are pure and there to shield us from danger. Not everything is that simple. The seven-year-old boy didn’t know better, he thought his mom would come and find him after he spends money on festivities in the carnival. Our beliefs are not always “realistic”, we deceive ourselves trying to portray the best picture of ourselves as possible, to justify the means; we believe in certain things to protect ourselves. That was why the little boy never questioned his mom. In his mind, she would know where he is, and she would come to him.
Present: I believe I knew she would not come to find me. I just did not want to think that was true. Was her mind made at the point she let me go with money, or she changed her mind while I was gone?
Past: With a strong grip, the boy was holding onto his coins his mom gave him. They were extremely valuable to him. He was marching forward as the rainbow colors were showering his body. The laughter, families, sellers, the noise. His eyes wandered around the Carnival. Parents were buying candies and chocolate donuts for their children. Kids were screaming with happiness riding on the rollercoaster in the distance. He wanted to go there but he was scared to go too far. He feared his mom would not be able to find him. Thinking of his mom, he turned around just to see her, but she was not in the same spot where he left her. The boy was not scared, he knew she would find him since that was not the first time that happened.
Not only was he scared to go too far, but he did not have enough money to go on the roller coaster. He found himself torn between going to the carousel or buying himself an Ice Cream. Flickering lights around the edges of the roof, plastic horses attached to metal, colorful tubes, flickering lightbulbs over the pillar in the middle, young children riding the plastic horses – all that joyful laughter and colorful lights danced in his eyes. He opened his hand and gazed over metal coins; he then turned to the Ice Cream stand. He decisively gripped his hand and moved over to the Ice Cream stand.
Present: Biting winter cold. Middle of the January. The snow under his boots was anything but soft and sparkly he loved as a child. The icicles covered most of the rides in the park where the Carnival would take place every year. He was standing right in the place where he made the decision to go to the Ice Cream stand. He looked to the left. The plastic horses lost all the colors, they were broken in some places showing the hollow insides. The snow covered most of them. The colors of the roof and the metal tubes were not as vibrant and vivid as they used to be. Everything felt forgotten like he was. I think I remember why I chose to buy an Ice Cream instead of going on a Carousel. Seeing all those children smiling as they were riding made me feel lonely. Every time they would make a turn they would gaze at their parents and I would see even bigger smiles plastered across their faces. My mom took me once on the Carousel; she was there waiting for me to finish. But I did not smile since she was not smiling either. She would turn her back and smoke a cigarette. That was why I chose to buy an Ice Cream.
Past: “One Vanilla Ice Cream, please!” The Boy said. The old man smiled at him. “Do you want a topping?” The seller asked him. “Strawberry, please!” The man did as the boy told him. As he was pouring the strawberry topping, the boy stretched his arm and stood on his toes to reach the counter. He placed all the coins he had. “Here you go, buddy!” The boy took the Ice Cream and slightly turned ready to walk away but the seller stooped him. “I do not want to take all your money since you are so kind and well brought up!” The boy did not say a thing. He looked at the old man with his chestnut-colored eyes and took the coin the seller left him. “You’ll need it.”
Present: He was right. I indeed needed it. It was the only memory of my mom that I had. In foster care, I used it as my safe place. I would hold onto it and imagine the home, my parents, together. The life would be great and warm, but in reality, it was cold and rigid as the coin I held in my hands. I think it is time to let go of the past and bury it. The strong wind pinched his skin. He knelt before the old Ice Cream stand where he met that amazing man that truly saved the only physical memory of his mom. Thank you. He dug a small hole in the ground and placed the rusted coin inside. I love you mom and I forgive you. I know you loved Vanilla Ice Cream too, that was I ordered that flavor instead of my favorite. I know you had your reasons. I love you. He covered the coin with cold dirt and snow. The colorful park he remembered was now dull and grey. Nothing was the same, not even him.