Sunday, April 15, 2012

Temporal Confusion - 1

I think back and try to remember the specifics of a moment of abject pleasure or triumph, and I find I can’t. I remember doing a lot of things that were enjoyable; but they don’t seem very real or important, as most of the details just aren’t there. But when I think back upon the bad times, what I do remember is crystal clear, with a sharpness that can still hurt. I find myself viewing those events as if I was watching myself as they happened, compartmentalizing the situation for the greater good of holding myself together. 

My own life has, for the lack of a better term, been fuzzy. I have no real sense of time anymore, and I find myself losing years, even decades; time periods that have no particular emotion landmark to latch on and pull me back to a specific moment. To make things worse, I have no reliable information on my own origins. Sure, I had a family, and a mother, but my personal and family history is a tabula rasa beyond a certain point. I have made myself, for good or bad, the person I am. But I have no confirmed lineage and will leave no ancestry for anyone to follow. I am a small point in time. Inconsequential in the grand calendar of life.

I believe my first memory is of something similarly inconsequential. I remember seeing someone pull folding chairs out of the trunk of a light blue car, probably a Dodge. It had tail fins as I recall. Why would someone remember something like that? And why would I know that is my earliest memory? For some reason, I know that is the dawn of my personality. After that, my memories become jumbled. I know not which one predates or which one succeeds any other one.

I know I was sick quite often as a child. I have memories of being in the hospital many times, and for long periods of time. I know I had pneumonia several times. I had earaches and I remember being close to death at one time because of a high fever. I remember the nurses covering me with cold, damp towels on a bed in a pinkish-grey hospital room. I think it was some sort of isolation room. I remember being told that I had some sort of reaction to a vaccination, but I have no idea if this vignette was the end result or another single event. For all I know, it was a dream.

The dreams. I remember many, many dreams. Or at least I remember situations that I hope were dreams, because I also remember terror, along with what I perceived as evil. I lived in a mobile home on a small, two-acre plot of land. It was fenced in by a rudimentary fence, which had a huge piece of plywood for the gate. I could not open it. I distinctly remember one morning when I went outside. Everything seemed fine, but as I wandered around the backyard, I discovered what looked like a pair of large spiders fighting. But I don’t think they were spiders. One was hairy, like a tarantula. The other was flesh-colored, like a small human hand. I remember the terror I felt, that blinding, unreasoning terror that only a small child can experience. I went to the gate and tried to open it, but couldn’t. It was too heavy to move. I called out crying to my grandmother to let me out or let me back in the trailer. She came out and said I was supposed to stay out there. No reason why.

That’s where that memory ends. Why? I can see waking if it was a dream, but I can’t recall doing so. I have no idea what happened after my grandmother went back inside and left me to my own devices.

It may have been after or before that incident that I remember spending an evening with my family: My grandmother, grandfather and mother. I was playing on the kitchen floor and could see all the way to the front and back of the mobile home. In the back, there was a bedroom, with a window in the outer curving wall. As I played there, I heard some sort of noise, like a guttural voice from the bedroom. I looked that way and the back window had been replaced with a face, or rather the approximation of the face. There were black eyes and a black mouth that twisted as it spoke. It was commanding me to do something, what it was I don’t remember, but I think I was supposed to move closer to it. I looked around toward my family in the living room and they were looking back at me. They seemed frozen, almost two-dimensional, and I knew I was alone. I turned back to look at the face in the window, which was continuing to speak words I couldn’t quite hear or quite understand. Another endpoint in time for me.

Scene change to daytime. I’m mucking about a bunch of old railroad ties that my grandfather had put in the back yard, watching this strange little insects. I think they must’ve been some sort of termite pupae or some other intermediary stage of an insect. They were light purple and sort of oval, with a layered covering that appeared reminiscent of the folds on an accordion. I was lying on my belly stretched over the ties and then flipped over. The second I moved, a large jet passed over me. It was as if you were watching a landing of a plane on a TV show through a fish-eye lens, but it was so close I could’ve reached out and touched it as it passed. There was an ungodly noise and I reflexively turned back face down, and it was gone. With the trees and the very mobile home nearby, an airplane, much less a jet in that space was physically impossible. And I am very certain I was awake.

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