An empty space. Empty peace because I didn’t understand life’s big emotions yet and consequences; empty space is what I feel in my first memory—me a snot-nosed, white-blond, dirty four year old hiding in the alcove of lilacs at the corner of the farmhouse. The damage had already begun, only I didn’t know it was damage. There is just space, space inside me. I am no one. I feel nothing, I only wonder at the smells around me, lilacs, tractor oil, honeysuckle and grass. I feel like a nobody. I’m neither happy nor sad. I am nothing. I inhale the earth around me and I feel how it swells in me. There was always the earth in all it’s beauty that never stopped captivating. Even now, past thirty and still the space, I am a little girl in love with the world in my teeth when I’m around floating flower petals.
I remember the sound of the tractor, how I used to sit on it, my arms spanning the steering wheel’s skinny diameter, feet dangling. It probably wasn’t the best place for young girls. There were a few alcoholic pedophiles mozying around the dirt drive, kicking beer tabs and flat basketballs; the yard just past the pink set of blooming wild apple trees overgrown with broken equipment, broken barns, rust, nails, glass, grandma’s blue mason jars. There were dozens of kids–my father a part of thirteen brothers and sisters. It was my father’s parents’ house (“Pa” and Grandma Helen), an old white-washed hamper of a place, but when everything was in bloom—now that I remember. We were just learning to call him “Daddy John” because my mother and new step-father we teaching us how to spell our new last name, and he was “Daddy Scott.” I remember sitting in my mother’s kitchen, scrawling out the capital “S” next to my new dad whom my mother said would love us, too. Then I miss a lot of time, so many memories blanked out and weak, accept for Daddy Scott forcing me to watch his other two children in a child porno he made, and I can’t remember if I’m in it, walking toward them on the tire swing, naked, being cajoled by the happy camera man. They were in white tank tops, their eyes vacant. This was always a secret of mine, and I don’t remember how. I was chased with boots and belts. I remember being propelled across rooms like a boomerang–a strange mixture of euphoria and humiliation. My mother, where was she? Looking the other way somewhere, cleaning rectories, vacuuming to Cat Stevens and Carole King. ….to be continued….