My mom’s boney fingers rubbing against my legs as she pulled white panty hose up past my belly button. My legs still sticky from lotion.
Looking out the window of my 30ft tall tree house at the hummingbirds that hovered over the vines, singing made up songs about them.
Sitting at the top of the stairs Christmas morning, waiting for my brother Justin—who was old enough to know the truth about Santa Clause—to finish his shower before we could open presents.
Having a picnic at the beach with crème soda, grapes, Ruffles and Ranch dip, and crème cheese sandwiches on homemade rolls. Sitting under our red and white striped umbrella, my body doused in sunscreen. The sand caking in the creases of my sweaty limbs and between my toes. Then standing barefoot on the asphalt, rubbing myself off with a towel before I could climb into our Toyota minivan.
My mom making Lipton soup for me, with Acini Di Pepe pasta, after my suffering a long night with the stomach flu.
Opening a faded, plastic turtle-shaped bin larger than my entire body, to find my brother’s Lego’s, robots, and G.I. Joe men. The smell of hot plastic and machinery.
Sitting at the edge of Nathan’s waterbed in Oceanside, CA, watching him play Donkey Kong until 3 in the morning, because he was so close to beating the game.
Sitting on the floor of Justin’s room, holding one of my ears to the side of his bed and the other to the palm of my hand, crying. Mom and pop yelling at each other downstairs.
Shaving my face with a plastic Lion King shaving kit in Stephanie Moore’s bathroom, eating Gushers between strokes.
Riding on the back of Justin’s motorcycle for my 15th birthday, my eyes burning, but thinking I was so cool.
Justin holding me by my armpits in the swimming pool, my diaper on, telling me to “kick, kick, kick.”
My mom holding my face in both of her hands, kissing every inch of it.
Falling asleep on our large sectional couch late at night, under a crocheted multi-colored blanket, with my head on mom’s lap. My parents watching a segment on the news about a serial killer loose in the Orange County area.
Carrying my purple preschool bucket to school, decorated with squirt-painted hearts, pink polka dots and my name in huge bubble letters on one side.
Sitting at the edge of a dock, with my feet dipped into the lake water behind my grandma and grandpa’s villa in West Palm Beach, FL. On a good day, I’d see alligator scales breeching the water.
Saying the F-word for the first time; blood rushing to my face.
Playing house, alone in the woods, down the street from our house in Pt. St. Lucie, FL. There was a small clearing where I’d found a blanket, an old plaid shirt, and a pile of wood to sit on.
Watching Scream and VH1 with LDS missionaries in Florida.
Sitting in a brown, silted Texas creek, using a bright yellow floating raft as a table for Marie Callendar’s takeout.
What makes me cry?
When someone I deeply admire criticizes or insults me