Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Total Recall

How do you remember? What does it take for a moment to sear itself into your memory? Pain, joy, grief?

How clear is your recall?

I remember the day the Challenger exploded. I was in my computer math class, with the scary bug-eyed bleached blonde teacher. We had a TV on in the room while we worked. We couldn't believe what we saw. Surely ... The loudspeaker came on. The principal, a definite hard-ass, was crying.

I remember the day that DG proposed. I remember what I was wearing (and I still have the skirt, though it stopped fitting me years ago). I remember the car he was driving. I remember when he pulled over to the side of the narrow country road, and I gave him the "what the hell?" look as he stopped. Not a lot of passing room. He shushed me, got out of the car, picked a handful of wild flowers (including some black-eyed Susans), opened my door, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him.

I remember the night that my paternal grandfather died. I was in bed, it was late. The phone rang. I heard my father start to sob. I've never heard him cry like that. My dread of late night phone calls started then. My father sounded broken.

I remember the day DG came home, with that hesitant little smile. I met him at the door, since he didn't come further inside. He took my hand, and slid the ring on my finger. A silver band of roses from James Avery. My engagement ring. So I would always have fresh roses, no matter the season. It all started with a rose, after all.

I remember the day we went to pick up my baby sister from the adoption agency. I was only 3 and a half at the time. I remember, because as we were getting back into the car, I cut my hand on something on the seat. A deep slice, between the webbing of my fingers.

I remember the phone call from Sabrina. I was getting ready for a date, Charlie was already at the house. She was crying, and as she tried to explain, the news show finished the story. We'd heard sirens maybe half an hour before. Two of our graduating seniors, two of the most popular and friendliest guys in the class, had an accident only a few blocks from our house. A drunk driver ran a light. One was killed instantly, thrown through the windshield. He wasn't wearing his seat belt. His passenger was critical for weeks, and suffered permanent brain damage. Graduation was only two weeks away. I always wear my seat belt, have from that moment on. And when we pass the cross erected where the accident occurs, I still tear up.

I still remember falling/jumping out of the persimmon tree that was in the field behind our house, knowing fully that my grandfather was there below. I knew that I would be safe, even if I couldn't fly.

I remember "falling" into the lake with my sister. "Don't get wet," my mother would scowl as we left with my grandfather. "Oh no, we won't," we'd tell her. And every time, we "accidentally" managed to fall in. And since we were already wet ....

Blackberries. I remember trip after trip with my grandfather, many times with me on his back. "No, THAT one, Poppie!" And he'd bend and pick that very one. We'd go out with bags and buckets, and every time we'd come back with only half full, and me stained utterly purple from lips to fingertips, scratches from brambles on us both. They never tasted so sweet. I had to pay for blackberries this year. It hurt. And they just weren't as good.

I remember seeing the look on DG's face the day Thing 1 was born, the day he thought he was going to lose us both. The day he almost did. I remember feeling like I was floating (blood loss isn't such a bad way to go), and my only worries were for DG, and for the baby that wasn't breathing.

I remember playing Danny's Game Boy (Tetris) while I was in labour with her, and the doctor coming in, scowling, and asking me if I knew I was having a contraction. I told him to hush, I was about to get a high score.

I remember Danny showing up right before visiting hours were over and after we'd both been dragged back from death, with food, with a huge chocolate milkshake. I hadn't eaten in two days before that. Milkshakes haven't tasted as good since then.

I remember ... GRRR ... that because Thing 1 was two weeks late, that DG and Roy used MY tickets to Jethro Tull and WENT WITHOUT ME to the concert while I sat in the hospital and sulked. Damn them! :P (Yes, I told them to go. We'd paid for the tickets anyway, no use in wasting them. The bastards.)

I remember getting the phone call saying that my great-grandmother was in the ER and that it didn't look good. We rushed to Tomball, and then SAT and sat, waiting. She had still been alive when we got there. By the time they talked to us, she was gone. They let us into the room to see her. She was still on the table in the triage room. I remember the towels over her throat to cover the emergency trach that failed. And I was Angry. Furious. I fled. Ran out of the room, out of the ER, down the halls ... I remember stopping when I couldn't breathe anymore. A nurse came over, gentle, with a clucking scold that I was bleeding on her floor. Somehow, in my flight, I'd ripped open the back of my hand.

I still have the scar.

I remember the absolute ROAR that Thing 2 gave out when she was born. The doctor and nurses were startled. No butt-spanking for this kid. She was out and ready to take over. I remember the words: "Oh, she has a birthmark" and utterly panicking. Imagination took over fast, but it turned out to be a relatively cute round brown "witchmark" under her right arm on the side. Talk about foreshadowing against the future.

I remember the utter shock at having my name called out after our UIL One-Act play performance for All-Star Cast. I remember my father, chasing me down after we were through to hand me an enormous bouquet of pink roses. I remember power-barfing in the bathroom AFTER we were done. I always let stress go afterwards. Before, I was the rock. I remember, in my shock at being named to All-Star, seeing an old boyfriend in the crowd that I hadn't seen in years. Jeff smiling, and giving me the thumbs up.

It is amazing how we remember, and the clarity that surrounds some moments and yet is absent from others. The human brain is an amazing thing, and it frightens me now that many of those pathways are being closed off or severed as my illness progresses.

Still, I think that, no matter what happens, there are some things that will never be forgotten. There is always paper, there is always my journal to record those moments that might slip away.

I will hold them to my heart forever. No matter how painful, or how full of joy they might be. It is my past, my history, my future, and they are parts of what has made me who I am.

just me, pretending to be

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