I don’t remember the names of my friends I spent my waking hours with when I was a young child. Playing hide and seek in all nooks and crannies in the street. Sitting together at school, and then after school finding our way into each other’s homes, into each other’s rooms. Into each other’s kitchens. I can’t remember if there were cookies. I miss my friends.
I remember the bunnies in the back yard and the lilac bushes that grew outside my second floor bedroom window. A room I shared with my older sister. I don’t remember much we talked about at night. I can still remember the intoxicating perfume of the lilac as if it were this morning.
I remember the cherry trees and the open yards, no fences between us and our neighbors on any side. I climbed the trees with the squirrels and bugs. The cherries were fantastically delicious. Cherry red.
I remember I jumped off the porch onto green grass. Rolling and feeling strong.
I remember the Fall leaves raked high at the side of our house. We jumped into the crunchy pile, disrupting their order. I don’t remember the names of my friends who I jumped with. I miss my friends. Even the ones who weren’t always so nice.
I don’t remember what we did all summer, all day, in the Midwest heat, on days I wasn’t dropped at the public, packed, noisy, swimming pool. With my friends. I can’t remember their names but we had so much fun swimming, and running on the hot cement, and even sometimes kissing under water.
There was a diving board. I was brave. I was scared.
I remember the taste of melting fudgesicles and ice cream sandwiches, but I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast or lunch or how much a fudgesicle cost.
I don’t remember who I spoke to as a child when my heart broke or even why it broke. But I do remember it did. Break. Many times.
I never forgot the special days when there were graham crackers piled high in my bowl like Fall leaves, with milk and sugar covering them until they mushed into a scrumptious soupy mess just waiting to be devoured. No holding back, no moderation. That was breakfast in 1961. On those special comfort graham cracker days.
I remember wearing white polished tennis shoes when this six-year-old white Jewish American kid went to Catholic school in India.
I don’t remember the names of my friends in India, but I miss them. Ever so much.
I remember jumping into my parent’s bed and playing with my mother’s fleshy arms. I don’t remember how old I was. But it smelled good and we were happy.
I miss them. I remember missing them, even then.