l a u r e n    b e c k e r

Memory of Seasons

 

In summer, we would go out and play for whole days. No cell phones. Not even watches. We left in the morning, ate cheese crackers from backpacks, washed down with dirty creek water. We went back home when the sun hit that point in the sky that told us it was dinnertime.


Sometimes moms called for us. Or dads. We all ended up at home. All accounted for.


In fall, it was my birthday and school started. In first grade, I started walking to school, usually with other kids, but sometimes alone. I heard there were teenagers who smoked pot in the woods that surrounded the path to school. I didnít know what that meant. I thought they would take me and do bad things. I never even saw anyone.


Sometimes, if I was by myself, I cut through Lindy's backyard, walked down the street a ways, and then cut through someone else's backyard so I could bypass the path altogether. I wasn't scared of backyards, even when they had lots of trees. Once I took some peaches off a tree in that yard. They were hard and didn't taste good, but I felt guilty anyways. Lindy told me the people in the house didnít want kids to walk through their yard.


Between the path and school, there was a big field. In winter it was bigger than in other seasons. My first grade winter, I almost died walking home in a snowstorm. I was alone, and the drifts were very high, and I was small for my age. I had a long black and white scarf my mom wrapped around my face and neck in the morning, but she didnít tell me how to wrap it myself for the way home. I didnít know how to ask for help. I remember how the snow stung my face, and how the cold froze my tears. I tried to figure out how to wrap the scarf like my mom did. I tried to figure out how to take steps in the high snow so I could get home, even on the path. I stopped trying.


I don't remember anyone coming to get me. I don't remember getting home or getting warm. Of course, those things happened. Maybe my mom found me and even made me hot chocolate. Maybe she told me how to wrap my scarf. I didnít say things then. Maybe she never knew.


In the spring that I was nine, we moved. We walked on regular neighborhood streets to school, or rode our bikes, or took the bus. Sometimes, my dad dropped me off on his way to work. He gave me lunch money, and I walked right up to the school doors. Outside didnít scare me anymore.


It snowed a lot there, too. I learned how to wrap my scarf. I grew taller than the drifts. I walked through bad storms. There was no path. I donít remember bad things happening. Seasons were only seasons, and the way to school was only a means. I know that nothing bad happened. Of course, I would remember.

 

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Lauren Becker is editor of Corium Magazine. Her work has appeared in Tin House (online), Wigleaf, Midnight Breakfast, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her collection of short fiction, If I Would Leave Myself Behind, was published by Curbside Splendor in 2014.


in issue twenty


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