Short, short stories. Reclaiming them from IG.

Dec 10, 2011. Remember when we pulled those flowers out of the dumpster?

July 4, 2012. My dream house. Remember when we used to host tea parties in grandma and grandpa’s tree house? None of the adults ever drank tea as it was much more of a coffee community … but we had tea parties.

Aug 5, 2012. Remember when we played with erector sets all day? I’m talking tinker toys here kids. Lincoln logs. Whatever we had and whatever we called them. Those. Remember when we built houses and forts and the army men would invade?

Aug 19, 2012. When I was in 5th grade (and double digits), all I wanted for my summer birthday was a pool and the promise of proud and prancing friends who wouldn’t even notice the lack of TV, internet and video game entertainment.

Aug 31, 2012. And we sat like this, hands over eyes, for what must have been seconds that each lasted a day. I don’t think he caught me peeking, but there were times I really had my eyes closed so I couldn’t tell if he ever peeked. Sometimes I liked to pretend I could feel it, like when I close my eyes at a stop light and practice my skills at knowing when the light turns green. His eyes were green like the stop lights and they begged me to keep going. To keep playing. We must have played peek-a-boo for years where every year lasted a second.

Sept 26, 2012. Remember when we built forts that invented urban sprawl and turned our house into Adventure land?

Sept 27, 2012. Remember when we pulled the dressers and beds away from the walls so we had long hallways to get lost in? Now we spend our time creating worlds with no walls, living in front of everyone.

Sept 29, 2012. Remember when we burned all of our furniture, trying to get smoke signals to heaven? We had mighty tasty s’mores that mom would not have approved of were she still alive.

Oct 5, 2012. Remember when the world disappeared at the edge of town? We chased UFO’s through the dust of racing on gravel and drank with the ghosts, roasting marshmallows in a bonfire at the center of the burnt down school house. I’m surprised we ever managed to make it out of the mud long before cell service and ever made it back to this world at all. These edges, they’re endangered. And I’m worried that we’re going to lose them forever … and find ourselves trapped in a world we’ll wake up in one day wanting to escape.

Oct 27, 2012. My secret garden wasn’t hidden behind a brick wall swallowed by ivy. Or tucked away in a snow globe in a trunk from somewhere in the world I hadn’t yet traveled. My secret was in plain sight and only took a quiet daydream to visit. I wish I could have figured out how to fly in my day dreams. Only in my night dreams could I pump my arms to soar above the houses.

April 5, 2013. Remember when you used to sneak us into the drive-in by having us play sleep in the back seats? You’d throw a blanket on us to play it safe. We’d play sleep again when you wanted to stay for the second, scary, feature. I watched most of the Poltergeist peeking through space of the headrest that your boyfriend would have blocked had he not been holding you. Today the river beckoned me to drive-in and I found myself watching wide awake.

July 23, 2013. Remember when I’d wear my sister’s jeans, my only pair of boots which just happened to be “combat boots,” paired with a non pressed, unbuttoned, white shirt? I typically had a black tank underneath and absolutely perfected the “I don’t give a shit” look which in turn was polished by the Marlboro Reds I’d tote around. Those boots went fishing, drove mains, stomped through fields, moshed at festivals. I conquered the world in those boots.

October 28, 2013. Remember when Tobor was inducted into the automata hall of fame? Ze was shocked, as were we all, for it’d been nearly a century since ze was discovered at Really Good Stuff in Portland, Oregon.

November 6, 2013. Remember when we’d build forts in our beds to keep our reading lights from reaching the crack between the door and the floor … we never suspected ma knew we weren’t sleeping since the forts also hushed our giggles. on the weekends, we’d re-arrange our room into a city. I still rearrange every room in my house once a season and find comfort in building forts?

December 8, 2013. Lucky was born Lucky Larus, unfortunately named after a duck though she was a superior, “ravenous sea bird.” Her moms named her, knowing the chance of their offspring hatching were low. She wears her non mating plumage to ward off the pesky males during the winter season when she must keep her focus on foraging from the dump and stealing what she can from the cormorants. They deserve it, she once squawked, sharing how they trick young gulls into accepting human treats. What the young gulls don’t know (and the cormorants knowingly don’t share) is that human food is addicting and unreliable. The humans must dispense it and once they stop, they don’t care for being pestered … and will kill the gulls. For this reason, she sees herself as a Robin Hood, stealing to keep the young gulls safe.

November 14, 2014. Remember when we’d stay up late, writing letters under our covers, hoping our parents wouldn’t notice the glow of flashlight emanating from our beds. sometimes our letters would be to each other, and we’d exchange them via a postage stamped envelope, doodled to depict our dream travels that week. other times, they’d be to our fictional best friends, our journals who’d never turn a deaf ear or tattle on our evil desires or embarrass us for our youthful lack of emotional control.

Dec 9, 2017. Remember when you’d wake before dawn and swaddle us in our blankets and carry us to the car and to the sitter where we’d wake and get ready for school? Those were the years you worked at the meat packing plant and we must have grown inches from toddlers to tiny adults starting half days of school. Those were the years I’d lose myself in the fictional history of the town we’d wonder through to and from school. The year my kindergarten teacher insisted that my bringing a pine cone to show and tell was the start of what future teachers would call authority problems. I’d really hoped to catch a toad that morning and like many mornings, I pretended to be asleep so as to be carried, so as not to disturb the universe and the adults in orbit.

When I was little, I’d look for the pink schoolhouse along the hwy to Schuyler as that’s where we’d turn to get to mom’s. I don’t remember the trailer well, though I remember concentrating on the mustard stove as I tried to whistle and the tiny bathroom sink where I washed the soap suds out of my mouth.

January 3, 2019. Remember when grandpa would pull out all his puzzles, none of which laid flat on a table. And that ship in a bottle? Life was filled with countless mysteries, all of which made adulthood feel like a destination worth striving for – when mysteries would solve themselves and we’d have new children to tease.

March 5, 2019. Zap. // Remember when we woke up and Wally was gone? His door was open but only a few green feathers in sight. He remained a mystery all morning until our brother spotted him in Chemistry class, caw cawing beyond the window. The only free parrot in Nebraska.

October 20, 2019. Autumn has always been a nostalgic season for me, ever since I used to take long drives from college in Nebraska to visit my brothers in Missouri. The interstate dragged on and tiny state highways meandered around fields and streams and eventually, I’d find myself in a timeless college town where Friday and Saturday nights competed for football, bright lights and underage drinkers. Having no school affiliations, I’d walk aimlessly with my grade school brothers, oblivious to the strife, poverty and drugs running through the city’s veins. After a weekend, I’d drive back along the lonely, rolling hills and highways and slip into college nights as if I’d never been away. The first crisp note of autumn always sends me back. To this time between times. When it stopped still, suspended in Midwestern mist. Between orphaned holidays. When friends had families and I had both none and too many. And I’d hang my head in the frosty air to stay awake, not wanting to wake up in oncoming traffic. It’s possible to both long for and despise a sliver / splinter of time. Because amidst all the turmoil that was and was to come, we smiled. Effortlessly.

June 21, 2020. Remember when we hiked for days, lost in the quiet of our day dreams, desires and looping lyrics narrating our biopic in the making? We foraged for fun, taking time to rub our wrists, watching for poison and allergies to show, kissing non reactive berries and devouring that which passed our tests like a long awaited and awakened love affair. You harvested mushrooms and sang silly songs to the winds whispering through the trees, sailing around currents careening through canyons. And the forest floor smiled up at us. 

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