There was a bridge I used to cross with my family. My daddy would ask me if I wanted to go swimming in the river and I would take off my shoes or sandals and get ready. Yes! I wanted to go. And that was because at the age of 5 I believed I could become a mermaid. Remember a movie called Splash! , starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah? In the movie she is a mermaid staying in the apartment of the man of her mermaid dreams. And one night she needs to unwind. So she goes to the bathroom while he is sleeping, along with some Morton’s Salt . She runs the water and pours the salt. As she touches her skin, she begins to develop scales. Anyways, she is laying in the tub and her tail uncurls over the edge. I thought she was beautiful and I wanted to be just what she was. A mermaid. I wanted to get away. I loved my family but I just wanted to get away and be happy. Maybe find my Tom Hanks one day. Save boys or people who were randomly falling off of boats.
So of course. I tried it . Salt, a nice warm bath. And I thought it was happening. I touched my skin and I thought it was happening. I was getting scales. But, it was only goosebumps. Still though, I tried. I did not have mermaid powers. I wanted to . But something else happened in my life that changed it. A day we crossed the bridge. See. We did a lot of traveling. My daddy was a criminal. He wasn't a bad man though. He just had a bad addiction, which brought on bad habits. He was an extraordinary thief. He could steal anything. And the back of the car was where I spent a lot of time with my baby brother. All day at times, into the night. As soon as we got out of school sometimes. Some days was feast and some were famine. It just depended on the money he made from the things he stole that became things he sold. And he would buy his drugs with the money he made.
One evening though, at the age of 9 ,I reached over and buckled my brother in. Then I laid down. Or I think I did. I am still not sure. But I woke up in a hospital the next day . I only remember being in and out of it. I remember having the front of my head stitched up. I would go back to sleep. About a day later I was up and I only remember asking about my mom and my brother. They were still alive. But my brother was in another hospital, due to the seat belt ripping his stomach open. I'll never forgive myself for the. I know it could have been worse though . My dad was fine, and in jail. We'd hit an oncoming truck in a Chevette. A small blue two door car. About the size of a can of spaghetti o's and about the same amount of protection . The light had been green but my dad fell asleep at the light. Cars were honking for him to go. He woke but the light was red on our side but green for traffic crossing. He didnt pay attention and hit the gas. Running us into the side of a semi truck.
So, since then I've struggled with my memory. I picture things as , well, pictures. But I can remember a lot more than I used to be able to. And sometimes still, I will have a memory come to me and it is so vibrant. Like a very vibrant clear picture. I can hear sounds and smells along with it. I am back in that moment but just for a moment. I don't regret that for the most part. Sometimes I struggle with remembering if I put clothes in the washer or dryer , if I drank my coffee or left it sitting somewhere. I struggle with sleeping . My mind has to always be in a learning mode. I have to trick it into going to sleep. I will turn on something on YouTube that is educational, just so that my brain will grab on to that and let me drift off to sleep. Most days I wake up, still tired. But since I've been being more honest about my life and my past, I'm happier. I can't say my past defines me. But the things that took place worlds ago, had a great impact on where I am now. One day I was going to be a surgeon. I wanted to fix people. I wanted the challenge and I wanted to be under the kind of pressure. I have “ memory pictures" of my doctors kit and I know that is all that I wanted to be.
Now, at nearly 42 , I'm a mom who drives her teenage daughters around, belting out songs that I don't know all of the words to. But it does feel great. I don't get to be a surgeon but I have got to kiss boo boos and carefully place colorful band-aids on my children's scrapes and scratches. What I'll do with my life next ,I do not know. I only know I will always be a mom and I will never put my children in situations that I was in. Now they are at the age that they're getting excited and want to grow faster. And I'm not ready. Some days it is like driving two Miss Daisy's to the market or a friend’s house. They are backseat drivers. I am proud though. Sitting up front, smiling like the great Morgan Freeman. “ There's a green light mom, you can go. “ And we keep going further from the past, because the past is no longer here. The past is heavy. So, with a light heart, we go to the supermarket . This is the summer I'll always remember .