The First Thing I Remember

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A lot of people say that it’s good to draw from emotion when writing. (And I guess that should be pretty obvious.) But I find that there are a lot of things I actually don’t want to talk about. I think it’s because of that emotion that I don’t want to talk about them. They’re either things I’m ashamed of, things I was afraid of, or things I can’t explain. Not all of them make me sad or lonely. A few of these things actually make me angry.

If it’ll make my writing better, maybe more genuine, then I might as well try it. Might be interesting as well. It’s not like the internet knows where I live, lol. (Unless it does @____@)

Might as well make this a series. “Things I Don’t Like to Think or Talk About for Whatever Reasons” shall be the name. I sure do like labeling things. So it begins. (Edit: Sorry, I realized a couple things while writing through this. I think I’ll write that aforementioned series later. For now, I’m on a quest to write down everything I remember. Then, I’m going to analyze it all. Haha, it may be a bad idea.)

The first thing I remember was a certain day of my life. I don’t remember it clearly, but I remember the feeling of waking up and not really remembering what happened before. I think it was my third birthday. That’s really it. I remember my grandmother’s house, where my family was living at the time, but I don’t remember seeing my little sister on that day, who was supposed to’ve been born already.

I have a theory, actually. I think that the things I remember to have happened on that day really happened over the course of my childhood. That’s why I’m cautious about saying exactly what I think happened. There was probably cake though. I remember Pringles; I’ve also seen pictures of me with my arm stuck down a tube of Pringles. The things I remember aren’t actually all that interesting.

I was playing with a plastic spinning top on the dining room table when a few men carried in a whole roasted pig. I got scared of its face and ran out crying. Now,  just because this is the first memory I mention, doesn’t mean I hold some kind of emotional or profound attachment to it. It’s a funny story and I joked about it until I was about 8 or 9, but it’s as important to me as any of the memories in this list.

A friend and I were playing with a BB pellet in nursery school and I got it stuck in my ear. I was drinking from a glass bottle of Sprite with my lips around the lip of the bottle and my grandmother said something like, “Noone’s going to come down the street and take it from you, don’t rush/be so protective of it.” (Probably not a coincidence: I still prefer Sprite over other beverages, most days.) And I remember the dirt yard next to the house, and when I try to remember what the street looked like, as it turned away from the yard, all I see is white, as if a luminescent fog covered up everything I don’t remember. I remember the place to be much bigger than it was when I visited last summer. It was something like twice as big as it is now.

That’s a line I’d like to use in a story one day: “Back in the day, when the world was twice as big as it is now…” But I have trouble with making up childhoods because I don’t really remember it to be as coherent as other people seem to have had it. They say things like, “This is what happened in my childhood and it probably explains some aspects of me,” but all I’ve got to say in that respect is, “I have fond memories of a bottle of Sprite shared with grandmother and now I drink Sprite when I’m not in desperate need of caffeine, in which case I drink Coke.” (Thing is, though, the only days I leave the house are days where I feel that sleep is less important than buying some product, which means that nowadays, I usually order Coke and not Sprite.) Damn life makes even my least interesting memories irrelevant to my current life.

And I really didn’t expect to be able to write this much. I thought I’d write more about that first day I remember, then screw it because there was nothing more to write about.

I remember playing on the weird concrete terrace that ran along the side of my family’s apartment (which was across the street from my grandmother’s house where we formerly lived.) From left to right, when looking at the front of the apartment, it went apartment, concrete terrace thing, then it dropped a foot or two into a vacant lot overgrown with ferns and palm trees. (My language is so descriptive. So descriptive.) One day, me and my older sister and our neighbors, who were also our friends, were playing on the terrace. Those friends of ours would always tell scary stories. The apartment behind our’s, which was only accesible by the terrace (and was abandoned), was apparently haunted. If you threw rocks in it and listened closely, you’d hear zoo animals. So we threw some rocks into the front door and listened. Moving on.

From the terrace, we could reach the leaves of this palm tree and we said we take the leaves down and use the fibres to make brooms and sell them. So we tried to pull down one of the leaves, all 3 or 4 or 5 of us. At the same time, my father was arriving home. There wasn’t a road in front of our apartment. Just a pathway, a small duct with black muck flowing through it, and a concrete fence. Past the fence was the road which my grandmother’s house was on. So my dad probably walked through that gate before finding us. He cut down the leaf with his swiss army knife, which I think he still has now. I mean, he has a swiss army knife now but I’m not sure if it’s the same one as back then. I think we became uninterested in our endeavors after that.

I’m not saying that he shouldn’t’ve cut it down. Not saying that he directly caused our fun to vapourize. But perhaps the fun of it all was in trying to do things on our own. Perhaps, once we got help, it didn’t feel like it was ours anymore. Haha, or maybe I don’t remember it was well as I think I do.

About that duct with black muck in it. I stepped into it once, by accident. I was walking back from school, apparently having to go through the gate in the fence in front of our apartment (which might not’ve been our apartment at the time) in order to get to my grandmother’s house. There was a tap in the dirt yard where I drank my Sprite too quickly, and my socks and feet were cleaned there right away. I don’t remember what my shoes looked like.

Speaking of taps, I was once adventurous enough of a kid to squish ants with my fingertips. They’d be walking along the handrail on the front steps of my apartment, and I’d just… squish, squish, squish. One day, I was playing in my grandmother’s backyard (not the Sprite yard) next to her live-in maid who was doing the laundry (not uncommon in the Philippines, don’t even need to be rich.) So, right, backyard. And there were a lot of ants crawling around on the ground. So I decided to got stomping instead of squishing. But as you stomp with one foot, you have to put down another. The maid had to wash the ants off with the tub of soap and water, and my dad poured alcohol on the bites when I got home.

Speaking of the backyard, there was a sort of second garage that had a corrugated metal roof while the first garage was part of the structure of the house. The wall between our property and the neighbor’s property was made of concrete with little seashells in it. I remember taking little wooden bbq sticks and picking those seashells out of the wall. There was also once a minipool there, and when the frogs decide to shit inside it, me and my older sister would float around on top of the water with floaties of some sort and try to clean up the pool with sticks. What the hell were we thinking, lol. There was also once a ping pong table there, and a giant woven bamboo hammock that we used as a swing. My dad was probably smiling on that thing with his kids. Which were us, of course.

Speaking of ping pong, we once set up the pingpong table in my cousin/uncle’s front yard. Be he had a dog, and instead of playing ping pong, I got scared and ran inside, with the dog chasing me.

Speaking of my cousin, we used to play games around his yard. Like Hide’n’Seek, except it had a special rule. Looking back at it now, it was a messy kind of rule. Hard to tell who really won and what wasn’t really allowed. And I remember playing around those rules. The rules were that the seeker had to find the hiders, then get back to his counting wall and touch it before they did. And what the hiders had to do was hide until they thought they could beat the seeker back to his counting spot. What I remember doing was standing behind my cousin as he counted and touching the wall, knowing that when he was done counting, I’d have technically won.

But then we got older and we started playing video games.

And I think I’ve learned something through writing this. There’s so much to me that I tend to forget. But, looking back at these things, I don’t feel much coming back to them. There are some things that I do feel about, only because I remember the circumstances and I react as I am now. But why do I remember these specific things? Don’t people say that we remember things because we feel strongly in those situations?

Only after 1700 words do I realize that I’m not completely sure if I’m empty just yet. Maybe, I just haven’t looked hard enough at it to realize it’s affected me.

Or maybe it’s not that important. Maybe I don’t need to write it all down in order to stuff it in my brain that my childhood wasn’t deprived or meaningless. I already believe that now. (Only after I wrote so much, lol.)

I’m probably just good at forgetting things. Seems I’m also good at remember things, though. One thing leads me to remember another.

This has gotten so long that I’m afraid people won’t read this far. It’s great that I’m no longer insecure about how empty I believed my childhood to be. But now my mind is too muddled to use this new-found confidence.

What was the point of all this ._. Right, I’m supposed to draw emotion from it. I swear. I must have ADD.

Edit: There are so many things I remember. I probably forgot to save space for other things. Now, I’m no longer asking myself what to write about but how to choose from all the things I’ve written down here.

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