I had never felt so whole before in my life. Not that my life had been particularly interesting or wholesome or rewarding or even long, for that matter. In fact, I was relatively an infant. The great mystery of life was something I promised myself I would solve. But somehow, for that one specific moment in my brief existence, I found myself feeling quite content. It was a moment unlike any I had witnessed before, that I could remember, at least.
I have no recollection of my childhood. I have two memories. Only two. Two faded, crumbled, sketchy, detached, painful memories. And to my dismay, the first memory is of a moment where I was being chased by my cousin’s dog, and then: falling, and sliding, and wailing; the stucco cement erasing the skin on my legs, leaving shreds of flesh on the heather grey sidewalk. I heaved myself up and ran to my aunt, wobbling and wailing and whining all the way.
She sat me down on the edge of the table, and picked the gravel and dirt and stones out of my shredded skin. Or, what remained of my skin. After that, she found a tube of Neosporin +Pain Relief ointment, and slathered it generously from my thighs down the front of my legs, to my knees, and down my shins to my ankles. And since the damage down was so widespread, there was no single bandage to cover the new landscape of my legs.
My aunt came up with the most reasonable solution, I suppose, and took a box of Band-Aids, and emptied it onto the table, and began unwrapping them one at a time, and placing them, one at a time, onto my legs, in the most strategic way possible, covering the most ragged, tattered, ****** shreds of flesh first, and then, with the remaining Band-Aids, she covered the less pulverized areas, until there were no more Band-Aids. And then the box was empty, and so a second box she brought to me.
She handed me a cluster of tissues to wipe away the tears that were slithering down my face and dripping off my chin. And so incessant were the tears slithering down my face that my reddened cheeks began to burn. They began to sting and itch, and so my eyes began to dry out of pure sympathy for my cheeks, and so the box of tissues was saved from the same fate as the box of Band-Aids.
No wonder I am deathly afraid of dogs. And luckily, allergic. But I digress. My second memory, of my childhood, escapes me at this moment. They tend to come and go, and only when I truly focus on them often, and bring them to the front of my mind nearly ever day. But in the interest of my story, my second memory isn’t that important at all. Or perhaps it is, but I cannot remember.
Now back to the moment of wholeness. I had spent an exorbitant amount of time, focusing on a rising darkness welling up deep inside me, somewhere in my chest, behind my lungs, deep in my very soul. In that moment, I was sitting on my bed, with my knees tucked up under my chin, hugging my legs against my chest. I was searching for some amount of comfort or release from myself. But I could not find any.
Since I couldn’t find anything remotely helpful inside myself, I climbed out through the window onto the roof. And I sat on the sharp rough shingles. I felt the stucco texture under my skin. And I traced the scar on my right knee. And I unconsciously held my breath, remembering the pain of one of only two memories. Then I exhaled and blew away the stale breath in my mouth, and let my shoulders drop down and my eyes closed.
And I realized, on the inhalation of my next breath, that when I had stopped searching, for just a fraction of a moment, I was content. I got quite nervous, for a second, and became frantic, for I feared that once the moment was gone, the darkness would once again rise. But I found in several seconds, that the moment wasn’t gone, and the darkness hadn’t reared its head. I found that the simple unconscious reminiscing of a moment from years gone by, the simple pausing in my racing thought, opened me to a world of contentment. In that moment, I ceased to strive.