You should talk to your mother.
Or your father.
Or whoever was around when you were seven.

Get them to tell you a story about you.

Get them to tell another.

And another.

Ask them what you thought of air; if you tasted it; if you liked it.

Repeat these stories to yourself.


After a while, you won't be able to tell the difference between their stories and your memories.

In second grade I got my first pair of glasses. I thought maybe I had to keep them out of the rain, they were that precious to me. I thought maybe I could count the leaves on every single tree from clear across the other end of our yard. Sharp sharp clear. I have not had that clear new vision since.

Here's what. Thursdays were library days, I always needed an extra bag. The library lady knew us all by name, the Mom with five kids and fifty books each visit. Sundays were for toast and butter, books and milk. Do you know we used to use maybe 3 or 4 loaves of bread on Sunday mornings. When you are reading, bread and butter slides down like nothing. Milk is cold and thick with sunlight and books are books are books.

Dad cutting my hair says If you brush your hair with your other hand while you reading, I would not have to work out these tangles all the time and then the dentist says If you'd brush your teeth with your spare hand all the time when you read, you would not have to come here so often. Silly Silly Silly. If I use one hand for my teeth and one hand for my hair, I will not be able to read. So I ignored them both and kept drinking in words. I wish I were still thirsty like that.

In the morning I watched the sky light up, cold bottom imprinted on a heat register. Dark to grey to white. I thought I could not sleep but really I was impatient, waking myself up. Here is Today! Here is Morning! Hello Hello Hello Here I Am!

When I was seven my parents bought me boxes of Crayola colored chalk. I was always the art fag of the family (big surprise, huh? I'll dance to anything) and loved anything that involved clay, paint... anything. I got large thick sheets of construction paper with rough edges, deep shades of red, dark blues, some browns and a few yellow.  The chalk showed up stark against the textured surface and I loved the contrast between the coarse paper and smooth color.  Whenever I was through drawing I was covered with chalk.  My drawings, crude as they were, were smudged and blurry from where my tiny, eager fingers smeared the colors together to make more interesting shades and patterns.  I used to use white under other colors to make the blues and reds and greens softer and deeper...  I still don't know if this was ever the right thing to do but I did it anyway - I think my perception was that it worked EXACTLY the way I intended...  

Proud of my gifts, I took one of the unopened boxes to school with me so I could us the pristine sticks there...  they were perfect cylinders of color and crisp...  I loved the way new sticks felt in my hands and I asked my teacher if I could use them to color on the chalk board.  I was almost too short to reach more than a foot above the lip of the board but she wouldn't let me use them because it would be too much trouble to clean.  

I don't remember the name of the kid that grabbed the unopened box out of my hand and threw it hard to the tiled floor - shattering the perfect sticks - but I do remember that I went to the bathroom and blubbered about them for a quite a while.  I was just so surprised...  horrified... hurt...  I don't remember if he was punished for being such a shit, but I remember that she let me stand on a chair and draw to my heart's content every morning before class started for the entire week .  Only one stick survived the impact intact and I used it until it was only a tiny nub...

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