Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Age Three: The Edge of the Cliff

This is Day 3 of the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge, which is something about a 3 year old.  To catch more on this, please visit  Jane Ann McLachlan.

She was three years old, and her Mum put her in the back seat of the Ford Expedition.  All tucked in, yes indeed.  Seat belt tight, pillow under the neck for when she took the inevitable nap.  It was a drive home, so the baby had a diaper change, a full stomach, and you know.  The nap was next.  They had just finished visiting Grandma with her heart attack.  Grandma lived in a city that was over the hill, and today they had taken the dog Biscuit for a visit in the Nursing Home.  All was well with the world.

It was a sunny California Tuesday afternoon, April 24, 2006 at 2:16 pm to be exact.  Pepperdine University was on the right, and the cliffs of Malibu beach were just beyond the baseball diamond that was straight ahead. The sea gulls swerved away from imaginary pockets in the sky, and

All of a sudden.  Whoosh.  Spin.  Smack.  Stopped.

Cars driving past.  Her car was facing the wrong side of the street, and traffic simply veered out of the way, passing her.  No one stopped.

She didn't cry.  She wasn't worried.  She didn't know what happened.

When her Mum opened the door, she opened it too hard, and it shut on Mum's arm.  She screeched a bit, seeming really perturbed.  She asked the baby, "Are you okay?"  The baby looked up at her Mum, wondering where her toy was, as it had fallen to the ground.  "Yes, Mum.  Can I have my toy now?" Yes, that was a three-year old for you.

After that, Mum would leave the house sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks.  The baby grew and came to know that the ambulance in the home driveway meant that Mum was being taken away again.  Again.  Something about her brain, something about well, her brain.

The baby didn't want to go to the hospital to visit her Mum.  She did, though, because it made her Mummy happy.  She missed her Mum, and no one quite brushed her hair, brushed her teeth, nor read books to her like Mum had done before.

Weeks went by, then months, then years.  Mum was in a wheelchair and she couldn't talk.  Then she had an "iv", then she baked a Thanksgiving turkey.  After that, she could walk with a walker.  And after that, after a long time, she could walk with a cane.  One day, she tripped on the cane and in her anger, she threw it in the trash can.  She never used a cane again.

So today, the baby is a girl.  She is eleven.  She watches her Mum drive, and she listens to Mum tell stories of morning glories, of ladybugs and of rhymes, of songs and of the times.

And she knows that the  edge of the cliff is just the edge.
It can be diverted.
If you stay on top, it doesn't matter that there's a cliff below.
It just doesn't matter.

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