My sister once convinced me to eat a crabapple from this tree in my grandmother’s yard. She told me it would taste good and I believed everything my big sister said.
It did not taste good. It was remarkably terrible, actually.
That’s not the bad memory I’m referring to, though. That’s one of many stories of her pranking me throughout my youth. The crabapple, the red onion she told me was red cabbage, the hot sauce on my peanut butter sandwich. Those stories gets retold at least twice a year at family gatherings and we all laugh at how mean she was to her little sis.
No, the bad memory I am referring to is whether this is the actual crabapple tree at all. I can’t tell by looking at it and I distinctly remember it being located closer to the road. I don’t even know if this is a crabapple tree at all.
The bad memory is mine.
(Here’s the tree in color if that helps make it easier to identify.)
I wanted to write something about ghosts. Something about how when they show up in your dreams they steal rest from you all night long. Not the kinds of ghosts that wear sheets and chains or the kinds of spectral presences that populate spooky stories. I’m talking about the kind of ghosts that used to live large in your life but that you killed off, metaphorically speaking, so you could move on. About how when they use your dreams to resume their presence in your life, it sucks the wind right out of you. Who gave them the right?
I wanted to write about those ghosts but I couldn’t come up with anything to say, really.
I once made a bindle and ran away from home up this road. I don’t remember what awful domestic injustice led to this action, or which cartoon convinced me I needed an actual bandana-tied-to-a-stick bindle to carry my things.
I think I was around 6 or 7 and the day was waning but I started the trek up the gravel road next to our old house, toward the hog barn and grain bin, completely unsure of where it would lead once it passed the cluster of farm equipment I was familiar with. I had followed my dad up there several times to watch him work, but I still had no idea where that road eventually led. I remember watching pigs be born in that little hog barn, and my dad having to help the sow deliver. I think I remember that, anyway. Turns out my memory is an unreliable narrator.
My sister came to retrieve me in Dad’s giant silver Ford pickup. I didn’t resist.
I did not get very far. I never do.
I forgot I had this song on my iPod and then I remembered it and now I can’t stop playing it.
If you and I ever find ourselves on a couples quiz show together, and the question is “What is Lindsey’s favorite Nirvana song?”, you are going to to have to flip a coin and guess either this or “Lounge Act.” Depending on my mood and the placement of the moon in the sky and the strength of the wind that day.
We didn’t know it was the last one, of course.
Now when I see old friends and I get half an hour, an hour, maybe almost two hours with them, I can’t catch them up. There’s so much that’s happened that I’ve not had the time or the chutzpah to pass along in real time. Things I’ve kept to myself (what a concept), things I’ve hoarded, things I’ve protected, things I’ve squirreled away, things not meriting an incremental update. When I try to give the Cliff’s Notes version of my life in the past year, it doesn’t make any damn sense. Not to mention I don’t want to talk about my dumb stuff the whole time; I want their stories too. I haven’t seen all the tweets and the status updates and I’ve forgotten texts and emails. I’m not a great friend and I’m spread too thin, probably — my attention all over the place and my focus too fleeting.
I’m that lucky kid in the pool who has all these cool toys but who can’t keep her arms around them all.