Melissa rested her chin on her crossed forearms and stared out the window at the rolling countryside. Summers at her grandfather’s old farmhouse had been a joy when she was younger, but as a teenager, they weren’t nearly as much fun, at least, not at the start. She missed her friends and the old familiar places.
She stood up and closed the window, then turned to pull back the covers and get into the same bed that she’d slept in every summer for as long as she could remember. When she stretched her legs out, her toes encountered an odd square object tucked away at the foot of the bed.
She stretched a little bit further and hooked the top of her foot around whatever it was and slowly dragged it up the bed until she could grasp it with the spread fingers of her waiting hand. It felt like a small paper box, and she brought it up from beneath the covers to have a look at it, as best she could in the dimness of the country summer evening.
It was too dark to see much, so Melissa reached up and snapped on her bedside lamp. She blinked a moment, but her eyes hadn’t spent too long adjusting to the darkness, so in next to no time she was reading the fine print on the box containing one deck of tarot cards.
She brushed her fingertips around the perimeter of the box in wonder, but she was so sleepy after a long day of teenaged moping that she promised herself that she would go through each and every one of the cards first thing tomorrow before tucking them away in the drawer beneath the small lamp.
Her eyelids were heavy as she reached to switch the lamp back off, and she was asleep mere moments after her head hit the pillow, dreaming of cups and swords.
sweat beading and trickling down
When I was twelve years old, Mariah Carey released her self-titled debut album. I can’t even guess how many times I listened to it that summer. I’m surprised the tape lasted through it all. And my dad must have spent a fortune on batteries for my Walkman.
When I was thirteen years old, Paula Abdul released her second album, Spellbound. I can’t even guess how many times I listened to it that summer. My dad must have spent a second fortune on batteries for my fancy Walkman with auto reverse.
My blogging is seriously suffering because of Pokemon Go. And actually having to work at work. Ugh, what are they thinking?
But it’s hard to catch Pokemon because it’s so hot. And so sunny. We live on a corner lot, and I can only walk down one street because the other has no shade at all. And then I have to drive to get to Poke Stops and gyms. I never realized how few local landmarks have shade.
But today I hatched a Cubone, so there’s that.
There’s so much superstition and motivational garbage about regret. Regret nothing. Live without regrets. Love without regrets. But who can definitively categorize anything as a regret without experiencing it? You never know.
And isn’t the truest cliche the one everyone learns with time, that you regret what you didn’t do ever so much more than what you did?
I had one of those, when I was far too young for regret.
Every summer between four and sixteen, my sister and I spent with or father. We had good times; she’d have a stroke of she heard me say this, but our father was orders of magnitude better at entertaining his children than our mother was. I’m sure it wasn’t her fault; she went back to school when I was young, and didn’t have the time for things like that except in the summer, when we were gone. Or I could simply be making excuses for her. I excel at that.
Good times, though. Square dancing and dulcimer playing and concerts in the park on the denim quilt my stepmother hand-tied in red string. Yard saling and flea marketing and cutting through Canada to reach New England.
We went to a Greek festival once, and to a score of miniature shops full of tiny chairs and tiny beds and tiny plates and tiny forks. We spent a day in Frankenmuth, pretending to be Bavarian. We stayed in a cabin on Mackinac Island; we slept in a fire tower in the middle of a forest.
We went to a dude ranch once, and I wandered off and fell into a freezing Colorado stream while wading where I probably wasn’t supposed to be. It wasn’t too bad, though; I didn’t get completely soaked.
It was always hard to keep me away from running water.
But I remember one experience I did lose precious childhood sleep over, fretting because I didn’t take the plunge. I don’t remember where we were; the Kalkaska County Fair? Osceola County Fair?
One of the carnies was in charge of a wall–a large white wall of Wacky Wallwalkers.
I didn’t want one, but I was a kid, and the option was given me, and by gum, if somebody offered you a new toy, you took it.
It had nothing to do with the stickiness, nothing at all. I had no idea what they felt like, because it was the first time I’d even seen them.
It was the way they moved, the sudden jerkiness of a step, or six. The jostling jiggle of the loose appendages flying free in the carnival air. The sudden stop after a flip or tumble when they reattached themselves to the wall.
They hurt my sense of reality, my understanding of how the world worked. All I wanted was to deny their existence, to push them as far away from myself as I could without ever making physical contact with anything so offensive.
I couldn’t take it. But it was free. I couldn’t reconcile those two things. Could not. And I kicked myself for it for the longest time, to the point that I had nightmares about giant Wacky Wallwalkers. But I never told anyone.
And I never, ever had a Wacky Wallwalker.
Day 16: Something I miss
Um, I miss the rains
Down in Africa; and the
When I was, say, 8-15, my sister and I would spend our summers in Michigan with our dad and stepmom.
We spent a lot of time at Dow Gardens, and we went to farmers markets and square dances and fishing and swimming and day camps.
I miss that.