A few weeks ago, I shared side A of an assignment for a creative writing class I am taking. The task was to write 20 memories revolving around a person, place, or event and submit 10 to be shared with the class. They could be entirely fictional or we could use our own experiences as inspiration. Since my childhood was so meaningful to me, I went with the place that was my second home. I don’t even have to close my eyes to remember it and I often wonder what would happen if I walked up the front steps and let myself in. Below is Side B, the memories we did not present to class, but which are as equally important to me:
She remembers reaching for the refrigerator door. Her eyes quickly find the pitcher of Kool-Aid, always in the same place next to the jug of whole milk. The handle is sticky in her hand. In the other hand, she holds a Styrofoam cup.
She remembers sticking her nose into her Mamita’s body powder and inhaling deeply. It tickles. She hears footsteps approaching and quickly closes the lid on the jar. Her nose wiggles, and a sneeze threatens to give her away.
She remembers her uncle Pedro’s small and cluttered bedroom. Old newspapers crinkle underneath her sneakers. Hundreds of books – arithmetic, Latin-American history, accounting – line the wall. The air is still.
She remembers flicking the hanging wire basket on her way to the bathroom, heavy with plastic apples and bananas. As it spins in the air, years of dust unsettle from the fruit and slowly fall to the carpeted floor.
She remembers the salsa music blaring from the stereo speakers. She watches the ease with which her uncle Luis glides his feet to the music. He seamlessly guides his dance partner with a steady hand on her back.
She remembers the blue tin of Royal Dansk butter cookies sitting atop the refrigerator. She can reach them now by standing on the tips of her toes. She passes them out: a rectangular cookie for Nancy, a round one for Marlon, and a pretzel-shaped one for Carla.
She remembers Tito pretending to spy on her through the space underneath the bathroom door. “I see you,” he sings. She stands by the sink, shrieking in fright and unwilling to move. Nancy laughs so much she pees her overalls.
She remembers the concrete fence around the yard which doubles as a balance beam. “I could be in the Olympics,” she exclaims. Mid-twirl, she loses her footing. “Oof,” she cries on her way down, as she scrapes her skin from knee to ankle.
She remembers the incessant sound of the AOL dial-up. “Necesito el teléfono,” her grandmother yells out, the receiver far from her ear.
She remembers sitting on the carpeted kitchen floor. The carpet feels coarse underneath her palms. Quiet and unnoticed, she watches as her sister Alex cries.
She remembers the sound of the KitKat bar as she snaps it in half. She licks the melted chocolate from her thumbs.