Friday, April 14, 2006

I have a habit of polling people about their earliest memory. It is a fascination of mine and it takes only the slightest acquaintance with a person for me to ask this question. As such I have accumulated a number of interesting observations. Women tend to have the earliest recollections. One lady I asked remembered seeing the face of her father peering down at her in her crib and giving her a bottle of milk that had unfortunately gone off. She recalls his confusion and how he attempted a few more times to give her the spoiled drink she kept refusing.

The reason for my fixation is obvious. My first memory is still vivid and terrifying to me. I cannot explain the experience. The few people I have attempted to tell have greeted the story with obstinate disbelief. I quickly learned the futility and am only embolden here becomes of the relative anonymity of this online journal. It matters less that these words are disbelieved because by the time they are read I will have moved on and forgotten them. I’m probably taking a nap or watching people from the bus by the time these words enter your head. That troubles me much less than repeating the experience to another person face-to-face only to have them look at me askance and question the details of the story as if I am trying to sell them stolen goods.

I don’t recall the exact age. I can determine that I must have been between four and five only by connecting the house and yard from my memory to family photographs and discussions with my mom. She also remembers the incident but only that she found her only child lying on the sidewalk in front of the house screaming and hysterical with only a few scratches on his hands but could not discover any comprehensible explanation from the child. “Boy, you gave me a fright. I thought you had been bitten by a snake. I stripped you down and look all over to see where it got you. Nothing. Just you crying and blubbering. You always were a weird child.”

Our neighbourhood was full of miserable old people who lurked behind their curtains in the hope that I may stray upon their lawn and give them excuse to push their face to the glass and hurl abuse at me which were muffled inaudible and only appeared as momentary fog upon the windows. For this reason, I tended to stay in my own yard and played quietly by myself. I was doing just that in this memory. I see from my own childhood eyes playing with a little metal car along the cracks of the sidewalk. My black firebird sped along the cement fissure highway and I was oblivious to all other things. Soon I felt the pressure of the wind like when you put your hand out of the car window. This continued to increase until I started to be afraid. I looked around but nothing else seemed affected by this constant and forceful wind. It was not a natural wind that ebbs and flows in intensity. It continued to gather in strength until I fell to my belly and held onto the sides of the sidewalk. I dug in my hands searching franticly for purchase. Then as if a switch had been thrown, the wind became a roar and I felt my legs begin to lift as if I would be thrown into space if my hands lost their grip. I saw the cloudless blue sky be wiped away to reveal the cold black space. Stars streaked into bright yellow lines. I could no longer see anything but those distant stars streaming past. There was no longer any house. No front porch. No pecan tree. I could not even see the sidewalk that I felt pressed against my tear and sweat streaked cheek. The scream of the wind completely drowned my own howls that tore from my throat. I shut my eyes tight and I began to feel an irregular tug lifting me upward. Something was pulling me away. My fingers started to lose their grip and as they did and I sped upward, it was over.

I opened my eyes to see my mother’s frantic face and watched her pull the screen door open to enter the house.


  1. Surprise! I always knew you weren't normal, man.

    One of my earliest recollections is that I'm being dressed to go to kindergarten and I complain that my penis is upwards. And my dad says "Nothing to worry about - it's supposed to be that way!"

  2. HA! that's hilarious. That's one of the best ones I've heard.