Even then, waking up in the mornings for school was something I didn't much like, but you never thought about getting enough sleep at that age. Television was for cartoons, even the weird ones in which the female characters had huge eyes and super-high-pitched voices. I remember the first VCR, and how renting a movie was a big deal. My dad brought home the Star Wars trilogy over the course of three days; that was the first time I ever saw it.

I had a fascination with swords that started when I was three, for no apparent reason. I coveted the silver plastic swords in the checkout aisles in K-mart. The boy next door became my closest playmate, fueling my tomboyish inclinations as we built starships out of lego bricks and dueled with sticks of bamboo.

Summers were the grandest times; our yard was free of stickers and so lush and green and I remember running from one end of it to the other. Insects were fascinating things - I learned early on which ones I could play with, and of course destroyed my share of anthills. Toads were an endless delight, and our place always had a population of cats, from whom I learned about death.

There was a beautiful ash tree in our backyard that I climbed in my younger years, and from whose branches I suspended all manner of constructs of cardboard and scrap lumber and whatever else I could scavenge. It attracted several species of butterflies that would drink its sap.
I often helped my mom with the gardening, and I can almost remember how the flowerbeds changed and grew or vanished over the years... in the fall all the mums would bloom, and I would come home from school and sit in the browning grass and watch the hoards of butterflies, inhaling the sweet heady scent of the mums.

The thunderstorms would cut off the electricity several times each year. I had a fondness for them even then, and for the dark nights spent in the glow of oil lamps, curled in a blanket in the living room with the rest of my family.
I look back now, and see the warning signs that my parents would eventually divorce... but at the time those were far beyond me, my parents seemingly existing in that ideal state only a child's mind can fathom, which was occasionally broken by fights during which I would hide in my room. I could never handle anger. I still can't, really.

I was a geek from the start - I still remember all the social groups glomming in first grade, and over the years I drifted around and never quite said the right thing; I was slow to learn all the cuss words. I used to sit and read the encyclopedias that my grandmother gave us. The first electronic game I ever played in my house was Spyhunter on a Tandy 8086. My brother taught me BASIC and DOS.

As time went on, the people around me began to resolve into distinct personalities, and I slowly came to realize that people have the capacity to hurt and sometimes will do it on purpose. Too long after that, I came to realize that people have the capacity to love regardless of flaws, and sometimes will do it on purpose.

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