There are some memories so far back, so deeply and imperfectly ingrained into my psyche that they hardly seem like memories at all, but something so much more basic; some deeply felt but never understood phantasm of action devoid of context or any other mean to support itself. Elevated to infinity by legs forged of flawless passion, an immortal amid the fluid storm of recollection.
I am elated, tiny, running from the kitchen to the living room, giggling, no cackling to myself, my hands full with things made so much larger by my inconsiderable size. In one hand, a half eaten blueberry muffin. In the other, a white pill bottle.
I race into the living room dressed in nothing but a white diaper with a lightly printed design along the hip. Behind me my father chases me, a black shirted behemoth bent down and over, lunging after me. I don’t remember his face, just his form, knowing who and what he was. Enjoying his attention, that my biggest protector is so low to the ground.
I cross just in front of the TV before he catches me, grabbing me hard by the wrist, prying the bottle from hand first, and then grabbing the muffin. I am shocked, horrified.
Everything has gone so wrong so quickly, his grip tells me his is upset, cemented further by the scolding tone of his voice. He says something in his the voice of the authoritarian, this scares me and I begin to cry a mess of confusion and fear. He lifts me by the wrist, swats me across the patted cover of the diaper and places me in the corner next to the shelf that holds the now archaic video cassettes I will watch throughout my childhood. The side of the bookshelf combined with the corners of the wall create a cramped holding cell. I know this place, not as well as I will in the years to come, but well enough. If I move and my father finds out, he always does, I will be spanked again and replaced in corner.
So I stand, staring into dim darkness, still crying, still overwhelmed. In front of me is a gun, a long barreled rifle, it’s formed of black steel and lightly colored wood, leaning against the wall. Attached to its head is a knife, fastened to the stock by some matte plastic attachment. The bayonet stands above me, staring out into the world that I find myself now separated from. The light jutting in from the kitchen plays off the polished metal shimmering in my eyes. I focus on it, a surface distraction to temper me, to take me elsewhere. I play with it, slightly moving my head from side to side to change the angle and the shape of the gleam.
But the fear sticks with me, emotions tainting the taste of the light, mixing enchantment and terror. I weep, gently swaying in the corner.
Sometimes I still wonder if I ever got the rest of my muffin.