Sometime soon after we moved to SoCal (probably right before I met Pam, but again… I’m not one hundred percent sure of the timeline), Mother and Tom took me on a little trip to a place near the ocean on the coast of California.
My brother was not with us.
I was probably around 6 or possibly 7, but as usual, I can’t be completely certain of the exact timeline.
I have no recollection of the drive to this city, nor am I absolutely certain of which city it was (I have an idea, as described in a moment, but I’m not sure), but I remember being there and walking down the sidewalk between my mother and Tom, holding onto one hand from each of them so I wouldn’t get lost or run off.
Like most young children, I didn’t like having my hands held in such a manner. My hands were getting sweaty and were slipping from their grasps. As a result, Tom was on one side, holding on too tightly, hurting my right hand; and Mother was on the other side, grabbing my other hand too tightly, scolding me for not holding onto her hand properly. I felt yanked back and forth between the two of them, unable to make either one happy, so I complained about the sweaty and complained about how it was hurting my hands, but got the usual “we don’t want you to die” speech that some parents give children in those situations.
Well… I believe it was worded more like, “We don’t want you to get run over by a car,” but in my mind, the message translated as “we don’t want you to die” and this was what I believed Mother was really trying to say, and it didn’t make sense to me. After all, as long as the cars stayed on the road and I stayed on the sidewalk, how could the cars run over me?
Such is the logic of children, I suppose.
But I continued to complain and squirm my hands, trying to get a more comfortable grip, and got the “stop making this into an unpleasant trip” speech from my mother, complete with a full stop in the middle of the sidewalk, a firm and painful shake of my chin, and a swat on my bottom that was more embarrassing than painful, particularly since I didn’t see where I had done anything wrong.
My hands were sweaty and I couldn’t keep a grip, and any efforts to adjust the grip were just making things painful. Why couldn’t they understand this?
But I apologized anyway, taking advantage of the stop by drying my sweaty hands on my skirt, then we continued walking. And since wiping the sweat off my hands had thankfully solved the problem, I stopped complaining.
Aside from the unnecessary conflict, however, I found the new place very interesting. From my recollection, the streets around me were slightly sloped, so that led me, as a child, to believe that the city (or at least that section of it) was built on a hillside, or close to a hillside. As an adult, however, I don’t see how this is possible, though, considering where I think we were, but I haven’t been there since that day. So it’s possible that the exact spot where we were 30 plus years ago had a view of the ocean that made me think we were on a small hillside.
Read the rest: Snapshot #6: A Blood Contract
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