The memory that first comes to you

9 Sep

I’m sitting on the carpeted stairs, panting and giggling. I’ve been put in jail. The fair skinned and light-haired witch, dressed in her ever-terrifying butterfly t-shirt and shorts has captured me. I’m hoping to be saved by one of the other peasants flailing around the kitchen and living room. Then I will be free to run around until I am once again captured. The game was infinite, that is, until the witch was sick and tired of us and called it quits.

I suffer tingling scrapes as I slide myself under the drooping branches. I slowly lower myself onto the ground, hoping not to get spiked in the butt by the blanket of dead pine needles below me. I let myself relax a little bit, since the boy guarding the flag hasn’t seen me. I’m joined under the nature-formed tent by my partner in crime. But she won’t stay for long, she was always more fearless in these games. Before long she is off in an attempt to snatch the flag and bring it back to our side for a victory.

“Go get me a Coke,” he demands. “Yes master,” I say before quickly turning away towards the kitchen. I search quickly through the cabinets hoping to find some Coke to give to the master. I spy a bottle of Diet Coke in the far corner of the bottom shelf and pull it out. I fill a cup with ice and pour the drink over it, right to the top. I balance the soda as I walk back into the playroom, hoping that the master will be pleased. I offer up my gift. He takes a sip and I wait in anticipation, hoping to receive a reward for excellent service – a chips ahoy cookie. “…is this DIET coke?” He is appalled. “Uhm, yes master. I didn’t realize they tasted different!” I can feel the sweat lining my upper lip. “I WILL NOT DRINK THIS CRAP. Ten lashes for you!” My dreams of a cookie quickly dissipate and I prepared myself for the thump of the fluffy pillow against my body.  

Write about the first memory that comes to you. That was the prompt I read about 15 minutes ago. It said to set an alarm for ten minutes and to write as much about the memory as you possibly can. But, instead of seeing one memory in vivid detail, I saw a scramble of scenes. I was taken over by the memories of childhood games in Auntie Helena’s house, surrounded by some of the most important people in my life, those who have had such a crucial part in shaping who I am.

While capture the flag is a common childhood game, it’s the first and third memories written that probably have people confused or even troubled. The game Witch would go on for what seems like hours. In fact, I don’t think there was an ending – there was no competition, no reason to keep it up – yet we played anyway.  The game entitled Master seems completely twisted and barbaric. We loved it. We were on the reward system with cookies and it was the best feeling to have older cousin Connor offering you that golden baked medallion and naming you the best of the servants. We laughed when we received our own lashes, and we laughed when each other received the lashes. We even laughed when Clare cried because the pillow hurt her ear.

I’m blown away by the imaginative minds we had back then. It is strange how aging takes away your childhood creativity – how I can’t even imagine getting so much excitement out of playing witch.  It’s humorous and blissful to look back on these memories, but at the same time it brings a feeling of sadness.  Being a child is being free and having a mind that can wander to the ends of the Earth. Your ideas are vast, both complicated and simple. You are never wrong, you are never judged, even when you allow your older cousin to be a slave master.

Alas, we’ve grown out of our butterfly shirts, stained shorts, and middle parts and moved onto glasses of pinot and pints of beer, which have proven to be our new source of imagination and adventure. And as long as we can keep our memories alive and make new ones over a couple of cold rounds, I’ll be a happy girl.


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