I remember the nurse’s office. I remember lying on the leather chair with a “stomach ache.” I remember kids with nosebleeds plugged with twisted tissues. I remember wanting a nosebleed, too. I remember chewing on sticks like toothpicks on the playground. I remember War Heads candy that made your throat spasm. I remember a pocket full of quarters for the vending machine.
I remember tugging my shirt down over my stomach while hunching my shoulders to hide my chest. I remember maxi pads in my mother’s bathroom. I remember walking-in on my mother getting out of the shower and the feeling of terror washing over my cheeks. I remember staring at my naked body in the mirror while puffing out my belly and rubbing it sweetly. I remember praying to wake up and have an identical twin. I remember Michelle Tanner.
I remember the smell of Aqua-net in my sister’s bathroom. I remember stealing my sister’s Keith Haring T-shirt to impress the older boys at camp. I remember archery and always smacking my podgy cheek with the bowstring. I remember fastening a Junior Bowman pin on my NY Mets hat. I remember beating up new hats to look like old hats. I remember my first pair of Converse sneakers and how I dragged them through mud on the way to the bus stop. I remember dusting imaginary makeup on my face with a blush brush. I remember red lipstick and bobby pins for dance recitals. I remember vinegar scented sneakers after a long day in the summer. I remember silent but deadly.
I remember playing Super Nintendo in Jamie Brown’s cold basement next to her pet frog tank. I remember making an obstacle course for her pet frog who only ruined it with slime. I remember Liza Cohen making up a catch game where the person who dropped the ball had to stick their tongue in the other person’s mouth for five seconds. I remember watching Liza Cohen’s engagement video online and wondering if she still liked to kiss girls and if engagement videos were a thing, now. I remember spending hours on baby name websites to find names that had the same first letter of my boyfriend’s last name. I remember Samuel Stein being one of them.
I remember eating the marshmallows off of the sweet potato at Thanksgiving. I remember changing my fat baby cousin’s name to Russell Stover after he ate an entire box of them. I remember the way the bottom of my swimsuits thinned and pilled from hesitantly shivering on the concrete ledge of the pool. I remember falling into the pool one leg at a time and my counselor laughing that I had lost my virginity to the pool. (I’m still unclear about the truth to that.) I remember the way my sister stunk of strawberry body mist and cigarette smoke when she came home late. I remember wiping boogers on her bedspread when she wasn’t home. I remember her asking our dad if her lightbulb shattered because there were sharp little specs all over her bed.(!)
I remember how Holly and Julian put their jackets over their laps so they could finger bang each other during A Bug’s Life. I remember making cut-off shorts in the summer. I remember that they were always uneven, and I’d have to keep cutting them until they were, at which point they were like denim underpants. I remember Ovaltine and “More Ovaltine, Please!” and the powdery residue it would leave in a glass. I remember Maggie Brown used to tickle Mrs. Hoffer’s legs during story time and Mrs. Hoffer loved it. I remember the other students started fighting for a chance to tickle Mrs. Hoffer’s legs until things got out of control and no one could tickle Mrs. Hoffer’s legs. I remember making salami faces by folding a slice in half and biting out an eye an a half a smile with Maggie Brown. I remember when Maggie and Jill and Grace and Leah and Melissa all got glasses and I wanted them too. I remember failing the eye test on purpose to get glasses. I remember getting the glasses and never wearing them because they gave me a headache.
I remember trying on my mom’s bifocal glasses and pretending to go cross-eyed. I remember the stack of books my mother had piled next to the toilet. I remember I always would open one and lose interest after the first few words and just pretend to read until I had finished my business. I remember my brother rolling down the window after he farted on family road trips. I remember bathroom sprays that smelled like too much fruit and matches after dads went poo. I remember my friend’s older brothers lighting their farts on fire. I remember wanting to see my friend’s older brothers naked. I remember never knocking before opening the bathroom door at Kara’s house, particularly. I remember writing her brother a love note that said “I love you” sixty-eight times and leaving it on his bed. I remember blue eye shadow in exchange for good grades in French. I remember obsessively coating my lips with Chapstick in class. I remember how Chapstick smelled like the pool after it went through the wash.
I remember turning my underpants inside out to get an extra day out of them. I remember my first thong and how I pulled it up out of my pants and would constantly find reasons to bed over and pretend I had no idea it was showing. I remember my mother confiscating that thong. I remember Malomar cookies and biting the top part off first and then eating the cookie base. I remember stealing my friend’s Peeps and Cadbury eggs that their moms packed in their lunches near Easter. I remember hiding the matzah my mother packed me during Passover. I remember my dad eating a bagel in front of my mother during Passover and the way she looked at him with daggers for eyes. I remember cramps in middle school and being too embarrassed to ask for Advil or worse, Midol. I remember cross-country running in middle school where Coach Tarpoli made us run through the woods, full speed, tripping over roots and stones for forty-five minutes.
I remember finding out that Coach Tarpoli actually was a lesbian and from then on believing all female gym teachers were lesbians. (It turns out, all of mine actually were.) I remember feeling funny reading anatomy books when it got to the reproductive parts. I remember So That’s How I Was Born. I remember when Holly found her mother’s personal wand massager and we used it to give each other back rubs until we found out what a personal wand massager was. I remember Diet Coke after Diet Coke after Diet Coke.
I remember smoking weed with Eva and saying weird things I couldn’t later explain. I remember adding gin to my orange juice bottle on the way to my last days of high school. I remember being told by a security guard at school that I smelled like a hobo and being told to go home before I got caught by a teacher. I remember dancing extra sexy when Mr. Mikal came to my dance team performance. I remember laughing extra loud when Mr. Paul told a joke. I remember bumping into Mr. Yuri in town and him telling me to “cut it out with those Bambi eyes.” I remember feeling scared and thinking less of Mr. Yuri on the following Monday. I remember Mondays. I remember June 24th’s.
I remember having an existential crisis about the repetitiveness and hollowness of life, even then. (Even now.)