My memory is not great. I remember weird things. When I was in 1st grade, we lived in Denver. I don’t remember much about living there. I remember having my bedroom in the basement; I thought it was awesome because I had the whole place to myself. I remember standing outside and watching a green, swirling funnel cloud in the sky. I remember that my 1st grade teacher was Korean and taught us her language and one time we had a Korean dinner and my dad came with me and he taught me how to use chopsticks. We learned the Korean word for everything in the classroom, and we had a large purple dragon that helped us. I remember one birthday there. We were poor, but it was summer in Colorado so my mom organized a Big Wheels decorating party. We hung streamers from the handlebars and put colorful cards in the spokes and had a parade down the street. And I remember how our shed smelled. I can’t describe it, and I haven’t smelled it since, but it was always comforting to me.
I remember when first moved to Texas, we lived in a rental at the end of a cul-d-sac. There were kids that lived a few houses down, a brother and sister, and the girl was my age and the boy was Mikey’s age. We went over to their house a lot; they had a Nintendo. I remember that the girl stood with her feet in a sort of a T shape, but spread apart. Left foot straight, right foot turned at a 45 degree angle, about a foot away. I started standing like that. Our next door neighbor had two very large snakes, and hosted the best haunted houses, and taught us how to stick a pin in a balloon without popping it.
I remember moving to New Braunfels when I was in 7th grade and hearing some stupid boy ask me if I was a girl or a boy because I had very short hair. I remember my first dance, and my first boyfriend asking me to dance to Garth Brooks. I remember being a “lawyer” in my history class for the Big Bad Wolf, fighting the 3 Little Pigs, and staying up late preparing for the trial. I went in very prepared, but at the last minute one girl wanted to be questioned. I won the trial, but lost on a technicality – that girl was in the jury and couldn’t vote. I was so mad.
I remember in high school dressing up as a Nerd during Homecoming week. We had a pep rally and the whole school voted for Best Nerd. I won because I was dating a drummer and the whole line banged on their drums so loud, there was no question. I remember how mad I was when, during my senior year, I found out that we weren’t going to go on our senior year band trip because some kids were caught with alcohol at the retreat. I remember coming back from a One-Act competition, after we lost and didn’t get to move on, and hearing my mom tell me that a good friend had killed himself that night. Everyone laughed when they saw me sobbing – they thought it was because we lost. I remember leaving the after party with some friends, and the driver stopped at a stop sign. Left would be home, right would have been over the same bridge Casey jumped off not 4 hours earlier. I couldn’t speak, or move, or yell at him to stop, but his girlfriend sensed something was wrong and told him to go left. I avoid driving over that bridge every time I go home.
I remember dating that same first boyfriend again in college, staying with him at night and driving, in the early morning light down one of the best drives in the area, back to school. I remember the feeling I got when I found out that he was cheating on me with my best friend, although I don’t know if he was really cheating because we weren’t dating. I remember meeting my first love, and my first, on the way to a Bands of America contest, and on the way home, sitting the back and putting my feet on the arm rest a feeling the weight of his arm around them. I remember throwing my phone number that I wrote on an impossibly small piece of paper at him, and being heart broken when he didn’t call. Turns out he never got that 1” piece of paper and spent the next 2 weeks tracking me down. I remember sitting in my friend’s white ford pickup truck while he wrapped my soul up and gave it to me in a Jeff Buckley CD case. I remember crying as he told me about the summer he spent in Paris working on an album for his band, where he met a girl. The girl, that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But, life doesn’t stop when one’s in Paris and soon he had to go home. He never saw her again.
I remember my brother coming to stay with me for a weekend and leaving a party 10 minutes before it was busted by the cops. I remember staying up all night, smoking and drinking coffee, studying for my chemistry final. I remember falling in and out of love so many times. I remember going to my friend’s beach house and “antiquing” boys that had passed out. I remember lying in bed with my ex-boyfriend-re-boyfriend-best-friend and hearing him tell me that Casey had, in fact, left a suicide note and that it said that he would only miss three people. I was one of them. I remember meeting my husband, furry faced, and a little smelly the night he came home from a week in Big Bend. I was depressed that I didn’t live in Europe and he talked to me all night about my travels. I remember the night he proposed and the night we got married. I remember where I was when I –knew- I was pregnant. I remember holding Claire for the first time.
But, I don’t remember where I was when I heard about Waco, or Oklahoma City, or The Gulf War. I don’t remember hearing about the Challenger explosion, or the day we invaded Iraq.
7 years ago today I was sitting in my dorm’s common area, eyes fixed to the TV as the second tower fell. I was sitting next to Krista and she was crying. I remember that day.
My kid will ask me where I was, just like I asked my mom where she was when Kennedy got shot. And I’ll remember. I’ll always remember.