Almost everything

Monday, August 01, 2011

Almost everything is still in bags and boxes, and I’m constantly walking around thinking things like, “Where’s my green cup [the one I didn’t break]?” and “Where’s my Oil of Olay?”  This morning I woke up thinking, “Where is my last bike that got stolen?  I want it.  Where are the Tretorn tennis shoes I wore in ninth grade?  Where is the slim gold watch my mom bought me that year?”  That was the year my mom had finished her degree and had a good-paying job, and I could pretend to be solidly middle class in public.  Or, well, maybe I could pretend before that.  When I was in fifth grade and she was still in graduate school, she worked as the assistant director of an outpatient rehabilitation center, and she somehow bought me the good kind of stylish Levi’s, two pairs of Nikes, and two or three of the Izod polo shirts I had been coveting.  But my style still vacillated back then, and I also had barrettes with long leather strings with feathers attached.  I remember visiting the rehabilitation center and going on the swings with an autistic boy who was suddenly in love with me, my leather stringed feathers trailing out behind me as I swung.  Sometimes I would wear two different Nikes to the mall because I thought it was funny.  I had a button that said “Why be normal?,” and I wore it for Halloween, along with a few different shirts layered weirdly on top of each other and a cardboard toilet paper roll covered in glitter as a ponytail holder.  I went trick-or-treating with Angela Lowery among the nice houses between my apartment complex and the pool.  I’m not sure anyone understood my costume.  It was 1980, and I was in Knoxville, and all the other “Why be normal” people had gone to the Lower East Side of New York,  but I was only ten and I didn’t know about that.  And, anyway, I was with Angela Lowery, who never had to try to be weird.  Everyone knew about Angela.  She was kind and remote and really sort of otherwordly.  She lived with her mother and grandparents on Flenniken Road, and her face and her mother’s face and her grandmother Polly’s face were all the same Cherokee face.  She was one of those complete-unto-herself people.  She knew how to clog dance.  She was lovely and inviolable and, at times, a little unsettling.  One time the teacher asked her for her homework, and she said, “Homework cramps my style.”  Where is Angela?  Last I heard, she died young in a car accident.  I want her back.  

1 comment :

  1. I want her back, too. And I never knew her.


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