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First memory

We are upstairs, my mother and I and we are looking out a window down upon a garden. And my father is in the garden and I say to words. I think I say, "Daddy." I remember it was the second floor and there was a big white porcelain sink and a window and air between us and my father. I remember that there was quite a fuss about me saying a word because of course this was my first word and I was the first child. He must have been happy. I know what he looked like because of all the old photographs. He was a photographer and so there were always photographs. He had a timer on his camera so he took photographs of himself and my mother. My daugher calls them the "sexy picnic shots." And they are both so beautiful in those images. She in pretty dresses, tight at the bodice and then pleated and flowing. Her hair is cropped short and curls prettily. He wears pleated pants and a white shirt and his hair is parted and he is so thin. They are both so thin and so glamorous and it's difficult to imagine them existing like that because never in my life have they seemed sexy and stylish. In the time before I came to be though they were.

He had to sell the car he loved when I was born. And they were saving then for a house. So they lived in a second floor apartment overlooking a garden with their baby born just ten months after their wedding.

They were settling into a life then. Saving for a life. Talking to a baby. He took care of me on weekends when my mother worked as a nurse at the hospital and during the week she cared for me and pushed me around in an enourmous blue pram. I remember it too because my second memory is that pram in the yard outside the house they will buy when I am two. And in that pram would be my little sister who was born just as they got the plumbing fixed and the water turned on.

I am still speaking words. It was hard to stop my words from spilling out once they started. I was talkative and impulsive so I spoke too much. Patricia couldn't speak in a language that anyone could understand and she tells me now that it was because her brain was too fast for her mouth. And she looks at me as if to suggest that my brain was obviously not too fast for my mouth. It takes me a day to come up with a response and by then it's the memorial for my dad and it would only prove that she was right anyone so I keep it to myself that I would say how my brain and my mouth are both fast as each other and there is nothing amiss about that and that it's not more noble to be speechless and thinking than it is to be speaking and not thinking.


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