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My first Mistake

by Wellington Lambert about a year ago in humanity

My first Mistake

My first Mistake

Nothing prepares you.

If you come from small place in a remote area and think you will be ready for anything it helps to be young and stupid. I would say naïve, but that implies the ability to learn and absorb. To have your shiny exterior smudged on a regular basis and still move forward.

I was smudge free, a permanently plugged in forever florescent dumb ass.

I believed that hard work and determination would eventually lead to success. That continuous effort would allow you to climb to the top of your chosen food chain.

I was wrong.

Not just once, not just twice, but over and over and over. There is a part of me that still says, even now, just hang in there, someone is watching, someone will reward you…yes, that dumb.

I stare at the letters H.A.T.E carved into the knuckles of Tony, my new roommate. We share everything, even moments of intimacy, well, not really intimacy, more like, he says do this or I’ll kill you, and I say sure. But then I think, death…why not?

I don’t think Tony worked very hard to get anywhere in life, and here he is, the boss of me.

I won’t tell you how I managed to get here, but I’ve been thinking. What if I could go back in time and find that one mistake. The moment that put me on the path to ruin. The action or thought that created a pathway in my brain so deep and so unrepairable, it would irreversibly damage the foundation that I built the rest of my life on. And what if I could still fix it. I mean, I’m not old, I’m not young, it’s not too late.

I am now obsessed. Another great quality that consumes me. My past is now my present fulltime occupation. Living it, wearing it, digesting it, till I find my first mistake.

Bits and pieces of my past come back to me, slowly forming into small scenes of forgettable importance.

My mother is mummifying me. She hasn’t removed any internal organs or pulled my brains out through my nose, just wrapping me in a six-mile-long scarf she knit. She knit these scarfs for all of her kids, but it appears I am the only one docile enough to be wrapped. I put my ski do suit on pre-wrap, then my boots, then the hat, then the hood. My mom then puts my mittens on. Two layers, pulling the top layer over the first layer and tucking it into the sleeve of my ski do suit. She tucks it in with a curious mix of aggression and fear. She is not just dressing me; she is putting on armor. She is trying to protect me, making sure the outside world doesn’t get in. The cold outside world, right now, -40.

We were not prepared for this move, so far north, so isolated. She initially put leggings on us under our pants. I can still feel the tightness on my legs and the strange rubbing on the inside of my pants. She now wraps me with a python sized scarf, creating a small crack for me to see out of. I waddle out the door and down the street and just before I climb the final snow bank and disappear, I turn around and wave. She is always in the window; she always waves back.

I arrived at school proceed to be unwrapped. Kids called me the mummy boy, for several reasons.

I realize now as I think about that moment. I was being taught to confuse fear with danger.

When I watch Tony dine on my anxiety it occurs to me that I have turned myself into a panic banquet. People can smell the delicious scent of never-ending fear. It runs in the background of my life, like an ugly wall I can’t stop leaning on.

I only feel safe if I feel fear.

My first mistake.


About the author

Wellington Lambert

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