From the moment that I sank a sharp knife into my finger to the bone, my mind ratcheted into high gear and stayed. On its heels, my stomach started churning with a jumble of ideas. My life did not flash before my eyes but as I sprinkled wound-sealant, I could not help but choke back complaint. I met my eyes in the bathroom mirror and suppressed laughter as I struggled to wrap gauze around the split. I finally got it butterflied and put my cogitation on hold while I finished my taxes.
But the tumult of ideas simmered. I could not blog today because the flood of contemplation rose higher and higher as the day progressed. Glimpses of the past rose, flashed, sank.
So many memories.
Talking to a police offer at age four — I remember his chin strap, round gold buttons, a kind voice. Tell me what your daddy did to your mommy, he said. I wrapped my arms around the baby in my lap. I didn’t want to say. I looked down at the scuffed toes of my saddle shoes. Don’t make me.
Leaning into a cold spray of wind and water, held by my Uncle Bob, high, over the tiller of his boat.
Jumping out of a tree house, terrified. My brother Mark told me to do it and I always obeyed him.
Lying in bed listening to the sound of a phone being ripped off the wall while my mother sobbed.
Standing in the lobby of my grade school with a gaggle of girls and a nun. Someone pushed me; I fell over sideways; when the commotion settled, the nun had a broken arm. No one defended me. Every one knew who had shoved me but no one would say.
Caught in a stall of my high school bathroom, listening to two girls talk about how ugly I was. My mind raced. Do they know I am here? Afraid to be late to class, I finally came out, kept my eyes averted, skirted past them to the doorway. Their laughter followed me.
The first fifteen years. Fifteen of sixty-one. Forty-six more.
The memories crowd against each other.
It’s nearly ten. My day started with dilating drops and two-and-a-half hours in a neuro-ophthalmologist’s chair and ended in the Carpenter’s Union Hall where I trained for my volunteer gig as an election day poll challenger. I made it home by 6:30, weary and limping, hungry, too tired to do much but stare at the nearly-empty refrigerator. I ate a banana and an egg with kale on toast. I watched a little television, scrolled through Facebook, let the dog into the house, and crawled upstairs.
It’s late on the twentieth day of the thirty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. I’m ruminating. Life continues.