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[personal profile] richardbjr posting in [community profile] panweirdism
A friend and I were sharing early childhood memories. It was her younger brother's birthday; she was writing a tribute to him recalling her earliest memories of their first few years in Scotland, then their trip across the ocean to the brave new world. Her earliest memories were of seeing him for the first time in his pram (that's a baby carriage); she was just three or four years old. They were all beautiful, lovely, wonderful memories. I know her brother as well and none of us are young anymore, although we still feel that way, sort of, sometimes.

I tried to recall my earliest memories. The first was when I was four years old I hit my two-year-old little brother in the head with a stick, an accident, of course. There were a few other things that seem like memories, but I think only because of the pictures my parents took and I still have all the pictures in boxes somewhere, and some in old photo albums. Then I remembered my little brother again, he was older, maybe six or eight. I'd just come in from playing outside. I saw him big smiling with his hands on the back of the couch, the couch facing away from the front entrance foyer looking into the living room. He was bouncing up and down on his knees on the couch. When I walked around the couch and he'd stopped bouncing I saw that there was something under the cushion he was bouncing upon. There were a bunch of kittens under the cushion; I could hear their muffled, little meows. I don't remember why he was doing that to the kittens but the kittens survived. Another day, not long after the couch incident, I came home again to check on my mischievous little brother and he was nowhere to be found. I heard something up on the roof. The house, designed and built by my genius father in the early fifties had a flat roof; even today the house would be considered a modern design but the price to recreate it, with the same materials, would be astronomical, with exotic woods inside, cork floors, Nova Scotian vertical cedar siding outside, three levels, and a big bomb shelter (his design, amazing) underneath in case the commies attacked, BOOM. Anyhow (that was a nice memory), my brother was up on the roof with a box of kittens, of course. He was tossing the kittens off of the roof, making them do flips and twists; it was at least a fifteen foot drop to the ground, maybe more. I yelled at him to stop! He turned around as I approached, he was smiling with a kitten in his hands. He turned back around and gave the kitten a toss before I could get to him. I asked him why. He said he was conducting an experiment to see if it was true that cats always landed on their feet. The kittens survived.

Another day, same age range, in the summertime, I caught him up on the terrace with a jar full of salamanders he'd caught down at the stream. He was taking them out of the jar, one at a time, and tearing them apart, carefully separating the body parts into piles. I don't remember his explanation for that one.

My earliest memory of me was learning to do tricks on a skateboard; these were the days when skateboards still had "cement" wheels, no urethane back then. I figured skateboarding would be easy. I mean, I'd learned to ski when I was three, was doing somersaults on skis and other tricks and racing and shit by the time I was ten, skateboarding no problem. My hand slipped off the front of the skateboard while doing a handstand, finger went under a wheel and tore the fingernail clean off. I remember looking at it bleeding, in agony, trying not to faint.

In conclusion, my younger brother ended up a serial killer... nah, just kidding; he's a very successful, highly regarded, physicist working with lasers for the government (not kidding). And I'm a relatively unsuccessful writer, lifelong dilettante, beach bum, surfer, sailor and have played way too much tennis. He'll never have children, been married once and divorced. I've been married once and divorced as well, and I have two, all grown up and beautiful boys, different mothers, of course.

Funny how life, looked at backwards (and I like this more often now than when I sought to betray the whole sordid business), is surrender to a more retrospective imagineering of desire, motive, and action; feeding the intellectual analyses with bold strokes of less and less compelling complications. And isn't youth romantic, with wonder and possibility unfulfilled, unfailing (but what's the point of feeling young when the body keeps breaking with age?). Or, is that gulf of years just the difference between the angelic and the diabolic mind?

You know, I don't think what I just wrote makes much sense. But then, I also make sure to look in the mirror and laugh like a madman at least once every day, ha-ha!
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