I’m not someone with a clear memory. I don’t know if it’s the head injury, hormones or if my memory has always been murky. I wish I could reach back at will and replay remembered conversations like so many of my high-school girlfriends can. Instead it’s like they’re talking about a movie everyone has seen except me. And I’m in it.
Maybe memories are like that, murky from swimming so long in the swampy pond of emotions. Maybe they’re like prisms, reflecting back whatever journey I’m on in the present. I turn them and hold them up to the light and the story is filtered through whatever facet I’m examining. Like the summer I turned fifteen. The teenage years are full of slingshot moments, so that minute-by-minute childhood innocence is left so far behind that it seems impossible to ever have been one. A child.
It seemed like everything changed the summer I turned fifteen. Or it had already changed. Slowly, all at once. We were a family and then we weren’t. At least, not in the way we were before. Centrifugal force spun us together and then spew us apart. Father gone. Mother mostly gone. Children no longer children except one. Living alone together. This happens sometimes in the aftermath of divorce. This happens sometimes when a mother is left to raise four teenagers and a confused, angry little boy. The summer I turned fifteen I had a sort of freedom born from centrifugal force.