PARTS AND PIECES
The Red Dodge
I had to be four, because my mom picked me up from preschool that day. I remember the building: hot paper, glue, ink, and the bold scent of must. My classroom was in the basement of the town’s Parks and Rec center. Other than the smells, I only remember three things about preschool, seeing and getting to pet a huge boa constrictor, the water table was the best, and once, a kid popped his head through two black iron bars at the top of the stairs. You know The Matrix? The slow motion parts? It’s like that in my memory. Walking by him, and turning my head as my mom drug me past. He had a big head with curly blond hair, tears covered his face. I believe they called the fire department, he was screaming and the adults there were of no use, but I didn’t get to stay and watch that part.
I lied, there are four things I remember about preschool, and the fourth was the original point of my story. It is about my mom’s car, the Red Dodge. It really has nothing to do with preschool, but it happened when my mom picked me up that afternoon. It was sunny and warm, I especially remember the sun. I climbed into the back seat on the passenger side of her Red Dodge. Over time, the car’s upholstery had acquired a specific Odor, B.O. The metal seat belts were almost too hot to touch. There was another kid in the car sitting behind my mom (it was probably my brother, but I’m not completely convinced, therefore I won’t make any promises) and we drove off. Out of the parking lot we went, turning left. I’m not sure how far we got, but it was a long and flat building and we were still in front of the building when I was trying to buckle my feverishly hot seat belt. Then, just like that I was sucked out of the door, you know when your body goes concave as an unseen force is hard at work and you’re completely at the hands of something bigger than you, or is that just a dream I have? The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the trunk of my mom’s car looking at a semi truck and my mom. She was probably crying and frantically looking me over for damage, but I paid her no attention, I only remember the semi driver, we just sat their staring at each other, it’s like we were saying, what the fuck just happened. I guess I didn’t know that word then, but that’s the word I would have used if I could have. Sometimes, when I tell this story, I wonder if the driver ever thinks about that day too. And we are somehow cosmically interlocked. Or, if it was just a moment for her, a moment passing her by, and has long since disintegrated. I have no recollection of hitting the pavement or my mom picking me up and setting me down on the red trunk, but I do remember discovering a rather large lump on the crown of my head and then after mom’s assessment of the damage, or lack thereof, just like that she put me back into the car and we drove home.
Later that day when my dad rolled up there was some talk about what had happened at preschool. As you can imagine, the only thing mentioned was the story about me falling out of the car. Little did I know this crazy traumatic event was being etched into my mind. Memories are usually formed by telling the story over and over again. I got it once, but it stuck. And there’s no one left to tell me otherwise.
I lived, she died. Chance is a bitch, so live while you can.