It’s the first night of the holiday season and our house smells like heaven. I am upstairs, still, dressing and making sure that everything about me says, “fun“. These are the BEST days; my cousins will all be there, friends from near and far; and I won’t be an only child.

My parents are laughing in the kitchen as my father tastes one of the raisin cookies that are cooling on the blue rack, in the blue kitchen, which he insisted: ” that the color matched her eyes”.

My mother scolds him in a playful way and I see him gently kiss her on the ear. He whispers something and the room is filled with warmth again.

Aunts and Uncles (whether related or not) are filling the house and somewhere I hear music playing.

Unaccustomed to so much activity, my dog comes galloping to my side nearly knocking me down. He forgets that he’s a big field collie instead of a poodle, maybe that’s because I treat him like a little doll. He doesn’t seem to mind though, he’s been my best friend and constant companion for as long as I can recall.

My “cousins” are everywhere, in the basement playing foosball and throwing around anything they can find. Most of them have sleeping bags, pillows and huge duffle bags overflowing with clothes and toys. Many of them will stay for days. While others will come and go before I can tell them all about my plans of growing up and becoming an architech. It’s my newest decision; art and math – if only I could write poems on the side of my buildings.

I am walking in somebody else’s shoes and they are soft and toasty slippers. The house is alive and will remain this way throughout the weekend and well into the week.

Friends and family; they are totally indistinguishable.

I’ve got no clue how very blessed I am. This is my life, there are others who will never feel this way but I am far too young to conceptualize that idea.

There is no world outside of this mine, i am safe and smile as I watch my Dad toss another log into the fireplace. He bought the special logs that give off sparkles and he honestly looks amazed each time a color flashes.

I come and sit next to my superhero; he smiles and kisses my head. My mother is across the room, she looks over and I feel her happiness. She looks over again, this time a flurry of flashes go off as she takes our photo. As always, she takes more photos than necessary: “just in case”.

The music of my life is playing.

Ever since we moved to Maryland, my New York City father has integrated John Denver with Bob Dylan. I sing along, having memorized every word from reading the lyrics until the pages disappear. Our music is poetry. My collie snores and nuzzles close as he falls asleep at my feet.

This is my childhood, I don’t know any other life and don’t give it a second thought.

This is pure joy.

This entire memory never happened – it was a dream written by my aching heart.

That childhood was a fantasy, one that I never lived. For a little while, writing the illusion becomes reality and I have joy .


It is a lie.

My head continues to throb as I sit at nearly 2:00 am, wide awake on the sofa.

ALONE, as always.



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