Half my life, yet I feel you slipping from my grasp

Half+my+life%2C+yet+I+feel+you+slipping+from+my+grasp

When I was approximately six—although it’s quite possible I was seven,

my balding father and uncle purchased my ecstatic cousin and I an inflatable water slide,

an early birthday present.

The bright colors and cool water were our favorite way to escape from the heat.

 

We would climb to the top of the slide,

one hand on top of the other,

only to get stuck at the summit.

We were both scared of the impending doom of the bumblebee that would circle us.

 

We sold the waterslide before we moved.

I was absolutely, emotionally wrecked.

My eight-year-old self had never lived through such tragedy,

but I understood that you couldn’t fit childhood memories into a moving box.

 

I crave when I was short enough to hide in the drawers next to the TV,

and I miss our lime-green playroom where my cousin showed me her bruised toenail.

I wish I had savored swinging on the playground more;

my feet hitting the frail limbs of the maple tree are the closest I’ll ever get to flying.

 

When the day begins to exceed the night, 

I’ll have made an equal amount of memories here as I did there,

and I’ll forever be stuck wondering if my room is still pink.

It’s probably time I stop referring to it as “my room.”

 

Someone else inhabits the corner where my highchair use to sit,

the place where my mother and father smeared chocolate cake across my face.

It was my first birthday, and I refused to touch the mess in front of me,

but my mom wanted cute, scrapbooking material.

 

My siblings and I would eat lunch on the back porch—

my cousins next door would be on theirs—

and we’d perform plays,

my favorite being The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but only because I took joy in seeing her eat a leaf.

 

I miss the pink walls.

Nothing seemed to go wrong when my walls were bubblegum-tinted.

But I seem to be losing pieces of my sanctuary;

I can’t remember what side of the room my fish bowl rested.

 

And when I occasionally drive by, 

the basketball hoop that we scratched our names into the cement base of

has been ripped out,

like my family roots on the lot.

My cousins have moved out, too,

and I no longer can remember details: 

how many cubbies are in the mud room, 

or what plants decorated the porch, if any.

I just remember the days we drank Snoopy snow cones under the deck.

I’ll forever be stuck wondering if my room is still pink. It’s probably time I stop referring to it as “my room.””

 

I remember being terrified to traverse the carpeted basement steps.

I don’t remember why.

It was just a basement, after all,

but some part of it plagued my miniature brain.

 

It wasn’t anything close to the fear of moving.

I didn’t want a new house; I liked my memory-stained one.

I didn’t want a new yard; I loved my shared grass with my cousins.

I didn’t want new memories; I wanted the ones that breathed through the walls.

 

I, of course, have new memories.

I exchanged pink walls for turquoise, soon-to-be grey, walls.

But my younger self would be disappointed in my lack of a fish bowl;

I always had a knack for naming creatures.

 

That seemingly insignificant, inflatable slide wasn’t the only thing that’s a distant memory.

I forgot whether the dryer was on the left or right side of the room,

or what side of my sidewalk was a tulip paradise,

and I can’t help but wonder: 

how long until I move out and forget those things about my new house?