A 10 minute freewriting exercise, beginning with, “I remember.”

I remember to breathe.

In the middle of the night, when I’ve been awake for hours and hallucinations rear up from some dark unknown, and I hold myself still, willing sleep to take over, I realize I am not breathing. As I panic that this is my final moment, I remember to inhale.

I remember the jubilation, the freedom, the pure and utter joy of stepping off the long yellow bus on the last day of the school year. The smell of heated asphalt mingling its tar bubble fumes with the earthy essence hanging over the fields across the street. The dust of freshly mown grass tickling my nose and throat, gritty hands rubbing at itchy eyes.

I remember how the heat wrapped around my bare arms and legs, already brown from weekends in the sunlight.

I remember sinking into the bliss of solitude in my room and spending days upon days with words. Reading and writing for hours. Books of fiction, transporting me away. My own words doing the same, differently.

I remember letters to friends, the endless possibility for my own roll of 100 stamps, narrow white envelopes, morning trips to the mailbox, prying up the rusted flag, watching for the postman from the couch, through the wide bay window, partially obscured by hanging plants that it was my job, sometimes, to water. As it was, I’d always add too much, and the water would flow out of the inconvenient holes in the bottom of those brown and pea green and mustard yellow planters. I suppose it’s unavoidable when the soil is dry from a child’s forgetfulness.

I remember thinking that I preferred words.

Never a green thumb had I.

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