Friday, August 26, 2016

A Time Long Past

The first sign that something is wrong is when I wake up for a reason other than twelve pounds of rabbit leaping into bed with me, nudging me that it's time to "wake up and feed me!" Not that I spend every morning dancing to the whims of the trickster god's rabbit incarnation, but... it's most days.

The fact that I notice the lack of my rabbit before I realize that it's not my bed, not my room, and not even my body? I point you again to the twelve pounds of exhibit R. But the other factors creep in as I open my eyes, looking at the plain white ceiling above me and I twist in bed, swimming in the sheets, trying to kick myself free.

My life gets all the more strange when I see my mom come in to check on me. She ages well, people usually miss a decade when they guess her age, but thirty years gone? It's looking at a different person. She comes over to my bed, puts her hand on my forehead and asks me what's wrong. Do we have a few hours and a PowerPoint presentation?

I've always been good about swallowing my words, so I just shake my head and say I don't know, that it was maybe a bad dream, and I should be okay. She lets it go, and I get to take stock of the room around me. I see certain things that memory picks out for me, the particle-board shelves along one wall and the white metal of the closet door, already festooned with several of the stickers it would bear until I moved out for college.

I'm somewhere in the hazy years, that period of my early childhood where my memories are fractured and scattered. There's a moment of panic as I hear my father, pieces falling into a kind of place. It seems I'm still working at the level of someone in their mid-30's instead of however old I am. I start to pick out ways to identify when I am, ways to try and manipulate the future.

Could I get my parents to divorce sooner? Could I convince either of them to trust their prepubescent son as a stock market oracle? As I work through the possibilities, I throw on a pair of shorts and a t shirt, the cynic noting that thirty years doesn't change some things.

And then I reach the living room, and it all stops mattering. Because right there, on the ugly print couch is curled up a small golden shape. Tomorrow? It can wait. For today, I'm just a boy spending time with his dog.