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.


Mine didn't look like this!

Mine didn’t look like this!

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