Longing for a Place I Can Barely Remember

I read the Writing 101 prompt this morning and at first I thought it sounded very simple. The challenge is just to think about where you would go if you could go anywhere in the world. It could be a place you have been before or a place you want to visit. I’ve been asked this question before, I think we all have, but for some reason I can never really think of an answer. Not a typical one anyway.

There are plenty of places I want to go, plenty of things I around the world I want to see but none of them are anymore important than any of the others. The only thing that matters in my future travel plans is that my girlfriend is with me. Looking back into my past there aren’t many places I have been that I feel a strong desire to go back to either. In fact, the only place I can think of is a place I barely remember.

When I was very young, maybe around 3 or 4 years old, we lived in Virginia. I remember the weather was nice there. I remember we lived in a townhouse and it was nice too. So were the neighbors and she kids I played with. I don’t know much about what was going on in my family during that time but my parents used to fight a lot. I was still an only child then and maybe a bit spoiled or maybe just still in that perfectly innocent stage of childhood where you are only ever upset when your immediate needs aren’t met.

The last time I can remember ever feeling that perfect innocence was on a family trip to the beach. God, I barely remember that day. All I have are bits and pieces and a feeling, a knowledge, that that day was a good day! I bet my mom was smiling and her and my dad got along, no yelling, no name calling. I bet my mom played with me in the sand. I bet she hugged me and kissed me too. I remember we collected seashells in a plastic yellow bucket and I’ve always wondered whatever happened to that bucket. Man, I wish I had those seashells right now.

I don’t remember ever having another day like that again. We did fun things after that of course, but I was starting to realize that my parents fought more than other parents did. Then my mother was going to have another baby and suddenly I wasn’t an only child anymore. Then my father was leaving and I missed him and wanted him to come home. I wasn’t innocent anymore. Everything after that was clouded by all of the shit the adults around me would do and teach me, for good or bad.

So if I had to chose a place to go to, I would hope you would let me chose the time too, and I would chose that day, so many years ago, and on that beach in Virginia. The last time I felt like part of a real family, and the last day I remember before I had to start growing a thick skin and a strong back to carry the weight of the world.



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