There are boyhood memories that are hard to tell. These are the dark ones, often secret. We prefer to keep them to ourselves because they can be painful to share with even those closest to us. I have found, though, that the telling of them is a kind of liberation. Once told, the memories lose their power to create reactive patterns in our lives, controlling us at some level below consciousness.
I have no way of knowing whether the following brief, poignant memory falls into the category I describe above, but its very brevity gives it the sharp edge of truth. The author has expressed the wish to remain anonymous. I took words from the first line to give the piece a title. I hope it works for him...
TUMBLEWEEDS AND CRABGRASS
This story comes from the land of tumbleweeds and crabgrass.
I was eight years old in 1958, living in Canoga Park, out in the San Fernando Valley. My mother was the type of person who wanted a perfect dichondra lawn in the middle of the desert. Often on weekends, she would end up screaming at my father about everything from money to weeding the half-dead front lawn.
On one such weekend, being an underage prisoner at the forced labor camp that was our home, I tried to intercede during a very loud, demoralizing argument my parents were having with the proclamation, "Why don't you just love each other?"
My mother turned to me and said, "I don't love you!"
Well, fat long pause, and I retreated crying, thinking 'Wow, I really am alone on this rock.'
My father just melted into spineless goo and I remember my mother later giving me a heartfelt apology. I accepted that apology, but think I never really believed it was real.
Just one of those moments that's etched in the memory, unable to be forgotten.