Introduction: I Used to Know Her
Today is my birthday. As happy as I am to see another year, I am also fearful. I cannot believe another year has gone by. What the hell did I even do this past year? The year flew by, and I didn’t even try to keep up. I feel like I am almost in a damn frenzy. It’s like everyone and everything around me is going so fast, and I am stuck in slow motion as if I have entered into a race that I am bound to lose. Does everyone have some type of secret tool or tactic to help them win this race?
Well it is my birthday, right? Okay, well I want my birthday wish. Do I at least get that? I wish to be a kid again. Take me back to a precious time that I can remember so vividly—being seven years old with long ponytails, sundresses, and a mind that surpassed a twelve-year-old. It was a time filled with so much hope and positivity. Constantly seeking out information, I would experiment; observe; read; and find a new, creative approach to unfolding the unknown of the world. I knew how the world operated; yet, I had no idea about how the world operated. What a precious time to be alive, right? Sometimes, I admire the fact that I didn’t know about the world I lived in. I am convinced my younger years were my golden ages—a time filled with sweet but vague memories. The very few I can remember will always hold a very special place in my heart.
One thing I’ll never forget is waking up on Saturday mornings. Every week, sweet aromas from the kitchen would disturb my sleep. Lying in bed, I would inhale the smell of my momma’s cooking. It wasn’t just about the smell of the good, home-cooked food; it was the smell of being at home. Gradually, I would make my way to the kitchen to see what was on the menu for breakfast. There, I would find my mom wearing her nightgown and fuzzy slippers with a bonnet on her head. She would tell my brother and me to get to the table. Our mouths watered as we gazed at the fluffy pancakes dripping with maple syrup and butter, potatoes and onions, smoky maple bacon, and scrambled eggs with cheese. Once we blessed the food, my brother and I would dive into our meal like swimmers taking off at the sound of a horn. We didn’t even give ourselves time to come up for air. The only sounds in the kitchen were those of forks and knives scraping against our plates.
As soon as my brother and I were good and full, we knew what to do next; it was Soul Train time! We anxiously waited to see that train rolling on the television screen and to hear the voice of Don Cornelius. When the people on the show hit the dance floor, we started jamming too. We even started our own Soul Train line with just the two of us. Sometimes, we would even go as far as arranging our teddy bears into two parallel lines just so we could come down the Soul Train line together with our synchronized dance moves.
Back then, life was green. I had my cake, and I could eat it too. If I could go back in time just to be a fly on the wall, I would watch myself play at the joys of the small things in life. I would admire the privilege of being so pure. I would tell the younger me, “Oh, little girl, how unknowing you are of the weights of the world, but how envious I am of you for not knowing.”