My earliest memory is probably that of a swing. I was sitting on a swing (as you do), swaying back and forth, legs too short to touch the ground. I held on tight, Mother was pushing me telling me to ‘hold on tightly’. It’s so vivid in my mind. I remember it was a sunny day. There were also other kids. Then I let go, landing face first onto the rocky concrete.
What I’ve realised after the years is that memory doesn’t do you justice. The most vivid ones can also be the most mistaken ones. I couldn’t remember where the swing was, and over the years I’ve come to convince myself that it was when our family still lived in Taipei (although when Mother retold the story, she told me it was actually Taichung). What colour shirt I was wearing I did not know, but I always pictured a pink one with hello kitty all over it. And see, the way I play these memories in my head as a detached third person seeing myself bewilders me. I picture a small child with soft black hair, wearing a pink shirt happily swaying on a swing, as if this was a film, a fragmented recollection with spaces that I have filled in myself and then forgotten. It very well could have been a cloudy day. Just as likely, Mother could’ve said nothing, or anything.
I was rushed to Father’s clinic. This I don’t remember. Mother said I had to get six stitches, and that’s how I believe the scar on my forehead came to be. It hides under my fringe, which I keep long to cover it up. When people ask I tell them the story, and I replay that memory again regardless of accuracy. I was so young, so naïve and just wanted to have fun. I wonder what I felt of mother afterwards, was there a sense of betrayal? Or simply the feeling of my own stupidity. How silly of me to think I was capable of such sophisticated thought. All I felt would be the immediate pain and the crying instantly thereafter. Trust me, feelings about memories must be the hardest thing to pinpoint – not because they are not there or slightly felt, but because they are so malleable, constantly changing over time. The event (and really, the memory) doesn’t change, yet my feelings towards it are summed up in the concrete definitions of words that I develop and substitute over time. When I write, when I feel, when I think, I cannot even trust myself.
I imagined Father worrying a lot every time me and Mother went out to play again. But I could not imagine him angry, bitter or blaming Mother, for those are emotions that rarely sweep across the mind of such a composed and sensitive man of Father. There’s simply too much love in this family. I only imagined the controlled horror of his face as his gaze met mine then Mother’s eyes as she brought me into his emergency room.
Too much love in this family must’ve been an obligated family tradition. Grandma who I’ve seen only a few times always held me and handed me a few coins and whispered ‘go buy yourself something nice’ in her flaky choking voice, which I would then buy some candy from the small dairy next door pretending to be happy to make her happy. For too long I had not been able to see myself as this kid who made small talk with Grandma regardless of how trite, repetitive and boring these conversations were (‘Amelia, put some clothes on it’s getting cold’, ‘Amelia, have you eaten yet’, ‘Amelia, how’s school’). I disliked little Amelia. Other people had too much control over her, her desire to make others happy was almost obsessive, something that I perceived to be a weakness. Nowadays I simply do not have that kind of generosity. Yet, that was me when I was young, and I do question how I’ve become the big Amelia I am. But what meaning is childhood except how it has made the person you are? It’s a search for reason, a search for the fragmented memories, and really simply a search for purpose and the catalysts and the true emotions which I had felt when I was there in the moment.
The same could be said for Mother and Father, and Tristan. Mother had a big, big belly when I fell down the swing. I’m sure. At least that’s what my memory tells me.
- Childhood memories
- Personal experiences in unreliable narration
Hey guys, I had a little moment just then, and kept typing and typing and churned this out in a about an hour or two.
Please give some feedback! I know it's kind of long, but I want to know if you guys like it. It's going to be a series and I'll write some more when I find the time, but only if people reads and enjoys them.
And I know it's a bit dark, and almost borderlining on cynical... but they're for the purposes of portraying the character. Other character's tone will be different, depending on the context too.
I don't usually post my works here, as I send them to people I know and some people like to do 'plagiarise checks' online and might take them here - and my entries don't have fancy names for people and simply streaks of embarrassment...
AND THERE WILL BE GAY PEOPLE OKAY, DON'T BE DISAPPOINTED.