I Remember...

Submitted into Contest #117 in response to: Set your story at the boundary between two realms.... view prompt

4 comments

Fiction Mystery Creative Nonfiction

There are a lot of things I can’t remember. Things that anyone should be able to mutter out in a split second from a simple trigger in their brain would take me hours of recollection and piece together. Parts of my childhood that others remember clearly are still vague to me even after so many years. Bits and pieces of memory come to me when I think real hard, but that’s all they are -- memories.


When I first arrived in this world, I was with a family that loved me from day one. I was happy. Happy with the parents I had, even happier with my siblings. I remember being the youngest of five; I was always loved, unconditionally. My older siblings were over protective of me but the parents could care less. After having four children before me, they had grown accustomed to having a toddler in the house. Things that were important for the first four weren’t so much by the time I’d arrived. I remember the protective covers on the electric sockets were no longer needed, knowing that the previous kids had survived and none were brave enough to stick their fingers in. I remember the cabinet where the cleaning supplies were kept, was no longer in need of a padlock for the safety of a kid who could care less about the cabinet drawers. Most of all, I remember by the time I turned ten, I was the happiest kid in the world.


I remember one summer evening after a baseball game we came across an abandoned bicycle left in the corner of the field. The chain had come off the roller sprocket and dangled from its place. I remember a few of us tried putting them back together so that we could take it out for a joy ride. “You hold the chain against the rolling plate” said Matthew looking at me, “I will rotate the plate by moving the paddle forward until the chain is locked in.” I remember getting my tiny fingers caught in-between the chain and the sprockets, and remember the scream.


I remember playing with my friends at a nearby construction site the same year when school was out. We must have been ten or twelve then. The neighborhood was a part of a “rebuild” initiative that the locals have voted for. The abandoned buildings were ordered to be knocked down to build duplexes for the low income families. The site was packed with building materials from sheet rocks to plywood, from bricks to metal rods. I remember playing hide and seek with Matt and the neighborhood kids where I was the seeker. After counting down the numbers when I began to look for my friends, I remember feeling hopeless and abandoned. When I made an attempt to run and find a kid who I spotted hiding behind a stack of woods, I remember bumping into the corner of a stack and splitting my head wide open.


I have very few memories of me when I was a teenager. I remember getting together with my friends for a Halloween bash on a Friday evening that everyone talked about for years to come. I remember at that party Michael dared me to jump into the swimming pool that was covered off with plastics for the winter. I remember ignoring all of my instinct and common sense that I had and diving right into the pool. I remember the plastics wrapping my body around in the bottom of the pool and keeping me down for the longest time until Matt jumped in to rescue me.


I remember my first kiss that was revolting and repugnant all at the same time. It was with my biology teacher Mrs. Johnson that lasted only a few seconds. She was an old hack and a widow of several years who longed for affection and human contact after many years of loneliness. I didn’t resist or report; I didn't see a reason to do either. I remember her talking about her dead husband as if he was still with her after passing away so many years ago. The way she would speak about him only revealed how badly she was hurting inside and how deep her love was for him.


I don’t remember much about my college life, but I remember the dorm room and the roommates at the Hedrick Hall of UCLA. I could still taste the red bull and ramen noodles after so many years of not touching a single junk food since I’d left college to be an adult. I remember so little of so many things that made me wonder if I was real.

I remember getting married to a sweetest angel from Pasadena and leaving the busy state behind to be somewhere quiet. I remember her wanting to move away from the crowd and be with me to spend the rest of her life in peace. I remember her like it was yesterday. Her death came in as suddenly as she came into my life. We met at a very late chapter in our lives but we were happy. It was not long after my 50th birthday when I started noticing the changes in her behavior. I remember that she was not laughing at my jokes as much as she used to. It took an extra step of explaining the joke before she would get the punch line. I remember that she would not take a second look at anything she had done before she was satisfied with her work. Baking was very natural to her up until recently. She wouldn't need to guess if she had the right ingredients for the pecan pie she was making, or wouldn’t think twice before pouring the oil straight from the container into the flour bowl without a measuring cup. But at the end, I remember her being agitated more and more, doing things once and being done with it instead of taking an extra step to review what she had done. Behavior such as this was very uncommon, even for her. I remember the last days, her memories pierced deep into my heart like the sweet sound of a symphony that could only play when I was awake.


I remember moving to New England in early fall a few years back and being mesmerized seeing the true nature for the first time. Watching the leaves turning to multi-color in days or the green grass beneath the feet turning brown right before your eyes was not something I had experienced in the past. I remember the fruits on Crab-apple trees covering the branches like Christmas ornaments. I remember the loud colors of a maple tree that could only brighten up a dark soul if not too careful. I remember being someone in need of a soul.

October 29, 2021 00:52

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4 comments

Amanda Fox
14:47 Nov 04, 2021

Wow, Mrs. Johnson needs to go to jail. The imagery of jumping into the pool and being surrounded by all that plastic is terrifying. Is the narrator dying in this story? It seems like these are his last memories before passing away.

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Mo Ferdause
15:28 Nov 04, 2021

Thank you Fawn. That's a good interpretation.

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Courtney Moore
15:02 Nov 03, 2021

Well written story! I imagine this is the main character’s life flashing before his eyes. You kept the pacing on track, and moved from paragraph to paragraph at the right time. Good job!

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Mo Ferdause
21:52 Nov 03, 2021

Thank you Courtney for your feedback. That's one way to look at.

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