By Sarah White
I wrote this in one of my memoir writing workshops in response to the prompt, “childhood danger.”
We slept in cribs with slats that could trap our heads, springs and latches that could pinch our fingers.
The pill bottles in our houses did not have child-proof caps.
We rode in cars without seat belts, slept carelessly tossed across luggage behind the back seats of station wagons. Some of us stood between our daddy’s legs and spun the giant wheel. Those big cars piloted like boats.
Our playgrounds were paved in asphalt and pea-gravel. The equipment was metal and big. If we fell from the jungle gyms and swings and slides or flew off the merry-go-rounds, we got bloody.
We went trick-or-treating in flammable costumes. We ate whatever was given us, including apples and home-made treats.
We rode our bicycles without helmets. We put on roller skates without padding our elbows and knees. We rolled all over town and no one kidnapped us.
As we reached our teens, we turned toward danger like flowers toward the sun. We confused “intense” with “good.”
We put things in our mouths we didn’t know where they’d been. We went spirit-traveling out to edges we couldn’t describe when we got back. On the good trips we held each other’s hands amid spiraling stars. On the bad trips we held each other’s hair back as we puked.
We had sex with people we’d barely met. Sometimes seeds were planted and we had barely-legal abortions. We held onto each other then, too.
Through danger we grew with feigned nonchalance toward adulthood. We were rough beasts slouching toward Bethlehem to be born.
© 2019 Sarah White