If This Glass of Milk Turns to Drugs, You Will Know I Am Gone

15 Feb

I have the kind of memory that embarrasses me with its sharpness. My rich inner life sometimes melds with the plots of movies my parents shouldn’t have let me watch and then rubs up on my steel trap memory. This makes for a kind of spotty history that I have to fact check with my mother. Which, I mean. Are her memories better than mine? I don’t know.

True: I spent the first night of my life outside of the Albion Hospital in a hotel room.

False: I slept in a drawer. . 

So sometimes I’ll catch myself doing some little ritual – I am rather superstitious – and I’ll think, now where did I learn this? Am I imagining that a scene of drugstore cowboys is my life or am I remembering the time my mother flew off the handle when I opened an umbrella in the house. Because she opened an umbrella in the house and then her father died and well that’s that.

True: We were on the road a lot and hung out with the other wives and kids of oilworkers.

False: Liz, a willowy woman with long hair, sun damaged skin, and smokes in her hand, gave me piggy back rides up and down the hotel hallways. (Because she didn’t exist.)

And really, it doesn’t matter. My memory is as useless as yours, because it’s not perfect and so why bother with it. But those little corners of my mind, that little secret pane of my Johari – they delight me. And because I’ve had such a delightfully odd life, nothing seems exactly impossible. I’ve had scarlet fever twice. I’ve been to the Miss America pageant 6 times. I have been on dates with at least 5 red-headed drummers. Maybe Liz is real and I’m the only one who remembers her. Hope she’s okay.

The title of this post comes from a spooky story my art teacher played for us in 2nd grade on Halloween. In the story, a young man is going to confront a demon. As he leaves, he tells his mother: if this glass of milk turns to drugs, you will know I am gone. Except Jesus Christ, how can that be true and as wildly inappropriate /nonsensical as it is? 

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