How far have I come in my life? I can sometimes remember bits from my youth, all the important things, like playing restaurant with my cousin Chante and setting up a crime scene on a riverbank for one of our many plays (all lost now, which sucks because she is going to be famous someday for her screenplays). I can remember doing commercials with her; Kleenex boxes and Cabbage-patch kids being the highlights of our advertisements. We were news anchor women, and we always fought over who would be Maggie Scura and relate the Weather Report on KNTV-11. Those things, I can remember like yesterday, and I can remember the time that my grandpa Oliveira died. I can remember what I was doing when I heard the news, kind of like JFK or the Loma Prieta Earthquake (when I was watching Gadget careen into a shelf of Cockoo-Cola bottles on “Chip and Dale-Rescue Rangers”). When he died, I was lying on my mother’s bed thinking, listening, to haunting music performed live by Capercaille. I can hear the strains of music in my head now as I write – sad, despondent, but stubborn at the same time. I am like that now.
I remember my past with fondness and sadness because I can never be that little girl who dressed up in a little wedding dress and danced to Prince’s “When Doves Cry” on my house on Talmadge Avenue, stupidly thinking it was a love song when it was anything but. I can remember a Christmas season when we had a cardboard house set up in our living room, on our slippery wooden floor, made to look like Santa’s House. Now, whenever I smell cardboard, I think about that house. It’s funny, I know.
I love reflecting on my past; it makes me happy. I like to think of smiling things when I feel sad: like comic books and green tea ice cream and apple scented candles and moonlight over the Azores, Portugal, where I once sat and listened to the ocean sing. It’s like children’s eerie laughter and my friend Whiskers purring against my tummy, making me feel safe and secure...
Now I go through the motions and the repetitive rhythms of life wondering - is this it? There is something that will happen to me in the future - something exciting, but scary at the same time. I feel that I am destined for something, not like Anastasia or anything, but destined still. How to explain? I empathize and hurt for everything if I am in the proper mood or just acting normally – my pencil that I am sharpening, my car when it stutters, my rocks, runes, and candles. EVERTHING. Why? I have no idea.
Some day, when I have lost a million pounds and I will not be afraid of my nape and I can feel comfortable in the knowledge that I am having a good day, I will go to boys that I have adored and tell them how I felt. Directly in their eyes without faltering.
I will be happy because I will be in a bubble of unreality that will not let me be afraid to be myself. I will be like a character in a comic book – like Wonder Woman with her Invisible Plane. That's who I want to be, I guess – the happy little girl still reading Archie and Strawberry Shortcake comics, watching She-Ra battle the forces of Hordak, and crooning to Prince while wearing a wedding dress.
Written May 1999.