Posts tagged "childhood"
Ten Years Ago

Ten Years Ago

Senior year. A fundamentalist Baptist high school. One of those times, frequent and interminable, when the teachers ran out of lesson plans and gave us time to talk. I was reading a novel because I’d run out of homework. The classroom chatter softened for a moment, and I heard a nasal twang, four plastic chairs...
Gyre

Gyre

When I was a schoolgirl, now and then a delicious state would come over me. It was unpredictable, and there was nothing I could do to bring it on, though it visited me more than once when I was plugging my ears to block out the teacher’s reading to us out loud from one of...
Girl Fight

Girl Fight

Marty Manzoni’s mother was fat. We all knew it, and we all knew better than to ever mention it, but that day in the school hall before basketball practice we were waiting for Coach to show up, and we got to talking about girls, as boys do, and someone mentioned Heather, a girl with sandy...
Slapstick

Slapstick

I don’t remember every beating mom gave us. I just remember that we named them after All Star wrestling moves. She had an extensive repertoire of techniques. The Half Suplex. The Full Suplex. The Spine Buster. Also the body part specific moves: the Wrist Lock, Atomic Knee Drop, and Corner Butt Slam. Some included hardware,...
Valentine

Valentine

It’s the middle of winter, but tonight I am in summer’s warm arms, Boston lettuce torn in half before me for a salad. You’re at the stove, stirring Indonesian sweet potato peanut soup. I’m at the sink, staring down into pale green whorls. “The heart’s the best part,” my mother says, a thousand Junes ago....
The Cruelty We Delivered: An Apology

The Cruelty We Delivered: An Apology

I. We didn’t know what to do—your rocket energy sending Thai monks into fits, as they chased you through the Chicago temple, hands hiking robes like dresses, flip flops slapping callused heels. Your trouble made us roll our eyes and turn our back when you wanted nothing more than to pal around with us. You...
Feeding Time

Feeding Time

The table was set with all seven dishes stacked at the head of the table where my father sat. Everyday stoneware for weekdays, china on Sundays. Hot pads, to protect the plastic tablecloth that protected the vinyl table covers that protected the wood surface, likewise were only in front of his place. When the serving...
The Father

The Father

On the first Sunday of the month their mother would drive them to the father’s apartment where they would have dinner. The father was a tall, thin man with green eyes and rust-colored hair, and when he’d open the door the sweet smell of his cigar would make their noses sting. They’d go to the...
Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open Spaces

The policewoman, let’s call her Ann Marie, doesn’t stop talking as she shows me the crime scene photographs of the woman who shot me when I was seven years old. This is the first time I’ve seen the photos of her suicide, though I was seven a long time ago. Twenty-four years. These are my...
Shock and Awe

Shock and Awe

Late one night as a child, in bed in my room, with heat lightning quaking sourceless on the horizon and lighting the world in quick flashes, I convinced myself the missiles had flown and the bombs had begun to fall. After each flash came a low concussion like the coughs of my cancer-killed uncle, and...

Hard Candy

The summer my older son was about to turn three, I took him to the library of the college that had just given me one year’s grace to find another position. Such things were supposed to be confidential, but the librarian knew I would not return in September or, at the latest, be gone the...

In Orbit

July 20, 1969: I’m running in a wide circle at the far end of the cul-de-sac, around and around until I settle in the dust under a thorny bush, but then my name floats into the game, calling me back as dusk descends on the neighborhood. Other names unfurl like ribbons, doors opening and closing—Bobby,...

Into The Fable

“Outdoors Day”: the annual Spring afternoon away from the stuffy classrooms and onto the track and ball fields, dreaded by nearly all underclassmen save for the dozen or so who savored a May ritual of barely disguised competition. We ran, we threw, we jumped. We “got some exercise,” the athletically challenged of us huffing and...