Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All the One-Sentence Memories I Can Write Down in the 20 Minutes in Takes My Dinner to Cook

Sitting on our Brooklyn stoop at my birthday party several years ago, offering passers-by cheese from a tray.
The baby in the afternoon sunlight today, chubby legs pulling him upward as he bit my arm for leverage.
Chasing the full Allagash moon by canoe.
My eldest son on a scooter, sailing down "Big Boy Hill" at breakneck speed, and the sucked-in breath of my neighbor who was watching him go.
Hiding in a pile of leaves, with their suffocating lightness and the scent of fall.
Running naked with my cousin down the street to hide in a ditch in the woods, and the shrieks of our mothers on the wind.
A photograph of me, age 11 and looking for all the world like an unattractive boy, on the dock with my grandfather.
A walk with a good friend to the cemetery at the top of Swett's Hill, when we talked of a boy who had been raised by badgers.
The last dive I made into my parent's pool, before they left that house forever.
Once, I was riding the exercise bicycle in the basement, and noticed that the digital clock read 4:48, and that the day was almost over.
Reading Annie Dillard in a tent while the flashlight swung above on a thin cord.
My first night in my first New York apartment, and the fierce din from 6th Avenue and Bleecker Street below.
Running over the rooftops in London with Sully, and bending down to light a smoke on the Serpentine and singing my eyelashes off.
Those awful red pants I wore when I visited New Haven, age 19, in a failed attempt to make someone fall in love with me.
One night in Cabin 11, playing "Late in the Evening" on bongos and guitar.
I swung an axe while wearing sandals, and the blade of the axe struck the dust next to my toes.
My friend Jenny leaping from a tree fort we'd made into a hammock, and the rope breaking, and Jenny tumbling unhurt to the ground.
Picking off flakes of fresh-caught and grilled Lake perch in Michigan.
My friend and I were running around the perimeter of the college campus, and I carried clementines clenched in my palms to hurl at the men who heckled us.
My counselor at camp reading us The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test while we lounged on multi-tiered bunks in a hut high in the White Mountains.
A dancing lesson at the Colony Club, and how he said he liked my short skirt when we departed up the street.
My husband's pale hair glowing in the sun from the bathroom window, in Princeton; a nimbus of light.
Another photograph: This time I'm getting dressed for my wedding, and surprised into open-mouthed gaiety.
In the next photograph from that series, I am peering around my mother's slightly-anxious profile.
Sitting on my father's shoulders in Big Sur, and him asking me to remember that moment always.

Time's up.

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