I think this is all the excerpts I will be posting from The Book for awhile...
'Cuz, of course, that ain't why I started this blog, yo? Dawgs?
(cont'd from here)
I tell myself that all this free time I am enjoying is good for my psyche, and that at any moment I will have an epiphany-- a brain fart, if you will-- regarding the weird-ass dreams I've been having lately. So I concentrate and try to conjure the images that haunt my dreams: the forbidding, dense forest; the creepy little animals; the suspicious grove. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees the dark shadows of the forest, with the peculiar little critters standing around totally staring at me all Pet Cemetery-like from the clearing, the more dark and, ugh, tight this freaking cabinet seems.
Instead, I find it comforting to close my eyes and think of what havoc I will wreak on my sister when I finally get home.
My sister. (Heavy sigh.) Last month my big sister Laura (I call her "big" to annoy her-- she's very thin and extremely vain; I just turned sixteen and she's a year older than me) stole my pink cashmere sweater for a date and it ended up with someone else's vomit all over it. Let me just say, vomit and cashmere? Don't mix. Instead of telling me, she made a lame attempt to eradicate the stain, and upon failure, shoved it under my bed (we share a room) and went her merry way. By the time I finally found it during "Sommers Family Spring Cleaning" last week (it is actually the end of summer, but Dad occasionally whips himself into a veritable cleaning frenzy and whisks me and Laura along with him), it was ruined beyond repair. Hello? Pee-yew! After the usual rounds of "you suck" and "bite me," I made a vow to get her back or die trying, so help me God. I don't know that God really cares about taking part in my vengeance pacts (Old Testament smitings notwithstanding), but it never hurts to invoke whatever Higher Powers are at your disposal, I always say.
My sister. Gah. My sister is a beauty, with a capital B. No, really. She has been modeling professionally since she was discovered by her agent at the tender age of four at a McDonald's in Bethesda, Maryland. Although I am obviously used to her, I know she is beautiful, with her wide green eyes, her wavy auburn hair, her toothy smile that could launch a thousand ships. Where she is wavy ringlets and curves and sex appeal, I am blonde and thin and as flat as God made me. We have the same eyes, though. Whatever. I'm not jealous... usually. Did I mention that I definitely got the brains in the family? And let's just say I also know Laura is something else with a capital B, but I am too delicate in principle to call her nasty names in my oh-so-public memoirs, although if I am too be both emotionally honest AND brave, my sister's innate bitchiness should probably come up at some point in these pages. Instead I simply invoke, as a lesson to all who read this, the old tried but true maxim, "Beauty is only skin deep, y'all." Amen, sister. Or brother.
Upon reflection I am beginning to think this memoir thing may not be such a bad idea. My father is always getting after me to expand my writing skills. I suppose I got his hopes up when at the tender age of seven I wrote an eighty-page romance novel. My second grade teacher was appalled; apparently I was exceptionally graphic. Dad, who is himself a professor of British literature and an author, was thrilled. He had visions of me following in his footsteps, perhaps as the next Mary Shelley. Unhappily for Dad, there is absolutely no Frankenstein lurking inside me; I lean toward journalistic writing, and as assistant editor of the school newspaper I get many opportunities to hone my craft. But this? This memoir? Feels different. Good different. So we'll see. I can't help thinking that maybe, just maybe, all this emoting and crap will help me remember something. About That Day.
The day my mother disappeared.
We were living in Bethesda at the time. My father had just returned from a business trip to Boston, the last leg of a country-wide lecture tour for his new book. Something to do with Chaucer's pilgrims, I think it was. Anyway, he and Mom got into it, and the usual noisy arguing ensued, until Mom finally threw a potholder at Dad's face and shouted as she stormed out of the kitchen, "Fine! Make your own damn dinner then! I'm going to bed!"
I distinctly remember Laura elbowing me as I covered a smile behind my hand at Mom's theatrics and Dad's bemused, "I just asked if we were having garlic bread with the lasagna..." I remember the smell of Mom's perfume as she brushed by me and I remember the pictures on the wall shaking as she slammed her bedroom door. I remember laughing over our lasagna at some silly story Dad told us about a large woman in a dashiki he met on the subway. I remember everything about that evening. Everything except Mom leaving.
We never saw her again.
The FBI hauled my father in for questioning a few days later. Despite their accusations, Dad persistently denied any wrongdoing on his part.
He explained over and over that when he got into bed, she was there, right there next to him. When he woke up the next morning, she was gone. Simple as that. No note, no suitcases missing, no sign of foul play, but no clue as to where she had gone. And no body has ever been recovered.
Up until six months ago my father was the FBI's prime suspect, but now they say my mom is either dead, possibly by her own hand, or she doesn't want to be found. Dad says nothing at all. About any of it. But he did conceive the brilliant idea of moving us all the way across the United States of frickin' America to live with my strange paternal grandmother in Dad's hometown of podunky St. James, Arizona. Population: 4000. Yay, Dad. My junior year of high school is going to ROCK. As if that is not enough, he acts for all the world as if Mom's on an extended vacation and she'll be back any minute. And to top it all off, and tie it with a pretty little bow, he has become the quintessential absentminded professor.
"She'll be home soon, girls. I'll get her back. Trust me," he tells us periodically, his eyes staring into the distance, but focused on nothing in particular. Dreamy. Then he grabs a bottle of scotch and holes himself up in his cluttered, book-littered office, door locked against us, and all we can do is wait until morning when he inevitably emerges disheveled and bleary-eyed looking for a glass of water and some ibuprofen.
But me? I'm not buying it. No, sir. I will not stand idly by. I will not drown myself in scotch (Dad), or throw myself into some small town, half-assed high school production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" (Laura). Or simply pretend that Mom never existed (Grandma). No. I will not rest until I find her. And maybe me writing about it all will help me figure out the clues.
Who knows? Maybe my freaky dreams are trying to tell me something. Weirder things have happened, right?
I thought some more about my dreams just now as I rested my fingers, but nothing of importance came to me.
I just tried to wrest my cell phone from my jeans pocket, but I am too scrunched up in here to maneuver it out. I think my left butt cheek is asleep. Nice.
I listen, but no tell-tale car alarm is going off in the distance. That's good, I hope. It actually seems almost too quiet. Huh. It is comforting to know, however, as I squat here in this dark, rather damp, smallish space that reeks of fetal pig and formaldehyde, that the expose the school newspaper ran last year regarding the inappropriate and ineffective ventilation in the SJHS science lab supposedly led to extensive remodeling in here, including cabinets with vents, one of which I am pressing my nose to every so often. Ah, oxygen! Sweet, sweet oxygen, sweet Pine Sol and soap...
Wait. Pine Sol? Yes! The custodians must be mopping, which means the classroom is empty-- well, except for me, of course-- which must mean the Dudes are no longer roaming the halls hissing, "Sammie... My bitch... Come out and play..." Hallelujah.
That's enough emotional honesty for now, Miss L.
- not-so-normal mom commented:
NICE! It's a little bit teen angst, a little X-files, very nice, indeed! Let me know when the release date is!=)
- » 7/11/2005 11:21 AM
- kalki commented:
I love Sam. Love her. And interestingly (or not?), in the novel that Doreen and I started in 3rd grade, the two protags were two girls named Sam and Chris.
- » 7/11/2005 11:34 AM
- Circus Kelli commented:
WOW! How freakin cool is that?!
WAY FREAKIN COOL! That's what!
- » 7/11/2005 1:18 PM