For years after she came to visit, we kept her bottle of Ocean Spray prune juice in the refrigerator. It became a science experiment. How long can we keep it in here before the bottle spontaneously combusts? Can glass decompose under the will of sheer grossness? No one would touch it.
“It’s good for you,” she’d say. My brother told me after that it makes you poop, but I didn’t believe him. Once, he said that my teddy bear was a demon. “You can see it in their soulless eyes.” You can’t trust someone after they tell you something like that. I remember the prune juice, cold and bitter, in my mouth and how it tasted like Kool-Aid gone wrong. Like maybe it once had dreams and aspirations of being delicious and yet, had decided not to.
Two hours later on the pot, six-year old me had read the entire American Girl series about Samantha and my mother thought I had fallen in. I heard my brother laughing from the room he shared with my sister. It was 14-year old laughter on the brink callousness, but still smeared with boyhood. And in the end, I didn’t mind having read so much. That summer at the Waller County Public Library, I won their reading award and received a 50 dollar savings bond for my efforts.
Titus Sardines and onions. Buttered french bread. Watching the Young and the Restless. These were a few of her favorite things.
I can still hear The Beatles on our record player. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds wafting out slow and psychedelic. If we were all sitting there, she’d hum along and my Dad, her brother, would soon follow. It reminded them of their father. Back then, I didn’t know the words, but I still tried to sing. And I would spin around, and around, and let the ruffles of my skirt flounce out. I can still hear The Beatles and her laughter.
Now, I wish I had called you more.