Column: Out of time

‘Time seemed nonexistent as we kept clipping the years of growth away.’

Maddie and I sit in her secret hiding spot: a small gap between her closet and bed that provides an inch of privacy for our devious behavior. 

My nerves skyrocket and a burning guilt simmers within my conscience. I know we weren’t supposed to be doing this, but with her heavy kitchen scissors in my dainty hand, I couldn’t seem to stop the motions. Strand by strand, the locks of my bleach blond hair fall onto the carpet of my childhood best friend’s room.

I was tired of my old hair, the same hair that caused me pain when tangled, the same hair that brought tears to my eyes when brushed, the same hair that now blends in with the beige carpet.

Time seemed nonexistent as we kept clipping the years of growth away.

However, when hammering footsteps echoed down the hallway I understood the deal I‘d made with the devil. There was only one reason to enter this hallway, and it was to come into Maddie’s room. 

As her squeaky door knob turned, my body stiffened with sweat pooling at the nape of my neck. I’m done for. When her dad’s large build came into frame I was already getting up, knowing it was about time to face the walk of shame to my parent’s house where a long talk about my horrendous actions surely awaited. 

If only that was the reason my day was going to be never-ending.

Oh how I wished it was.

Instead of the disappointed gaze from Maddie’s dad I was expecting, his face filled with worry. Worry about something deeper than his daughter and my horrible haircuts. His glassy eyes focused on me. He ushered me outside, into the droopy gray scenery that fit the mood perfectly until I’m face to face with my aunt. 

Something’s off about this. 

My aunt never shows up unannounced, it’s simply unmannerly; her words, not mine. I glanced over to my house and the usually lived in home seemed abandoned. An unsettling feeling swirled around my stomach. After what felt like ages of shocked expressions and silent treatment, I was heading over to my aunt’s house along with my brother. Any questions I brought up led to one word answers that hardly eased my five-year-old mind. 

That night I spent hours lying in her living room staring out her large balcony window into the night sky. The house was suffocating and hushed, but my mind ran wild with worry about where mom and dad were. I knew I’d see them the next day, aunt Michelle promised me, but the thought that something bad happened stuck in my brain like gum on the bottom of a shoe.

With one last wish for them to be alright, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep unaware of what was in store for tomorrow. 

Just like yesterday, the sky wasn’t any brighter. The troubled look my aunt wore didn’t fade as we all got in the car, nor once we arrived at my home which still looked unfamiliar to the norm. 

I realized that nothing about this day, Jan. 27, 2012, was going to be pretty by any means. 

Stepping through the front door there was no greeting, only hushed whispers coming from the back of the house. Odd. The lights weren’t turned on either, except for the one shining in my parents’ room. 

I instantly sprint toward their room, excited to see them after so long. Ready to blab their ears off about how much I missed them until I skidded to a halt. Everyone’s eyes are on me, shushing before I even opened my mouth and somehow grandma is here.

Everyone’s surrounding mama.

Why is everyone surrounding mama?

Nausea washes over my previous adrenaline. I slowly creep to where my mom is laying down on her side of the bed. As I stare at her something feels different.

What happened to mama?

Is she hurt? Scared? Sick?

She finally looks up at me. Her blue eyes are dark and dull unlike those aquamarine jewels she has. Without a sound, she reaches for my hair. Up until this moment I had forgotten about what I did not even 24 hours ago, embarrassingly enough I tilt my head down—ashamed.

It looks beautiful, she said. 

Odd. Mama loved my long hair. Is she lying to me right now? 

With a billion questions in my head, I turn to my dad who’s been by mom’s side this whole time. Looking my way, he understands the confusion in my eyes. 

Come, I have something to tell you. Let your mom rest.

His explanation didn’t help me. What does he mean by “mom lost her memory?”

 Can’t she just get it back? What about us?

What about her memories of me?