Carokashu: Turquoise in the Half Light

The water was tepid, greenish amber, murky at the bottom. The surface sun-dappled, the breeze ricocheting geometric patterns within the peaks and valleys of the shimmering water. In the half light, her round obsidian eyes stared intensely, marveling at the vast water.

The horizon, silvery grey, the air a tender haze. Kissed with the break of day or the promise of nightfall, she could not tell if the sun was coming or going, fey sun.

The water lapped at her vulnerable, diminutive, sailboat-bikini clad form. She glanced furtively towards the legs looming near her, “It’s safe, they’re here.”

She tentatively toddled when a stinging pain seared through her tiny foot, she wailed and was scooped up instantly by a pair of consoling arms. The familiar fragrance of Coppertone suntan lotion enveloped her.

The expansive water, going on forever, she couldn’t see the bottom or the end. Mysterious and fathomless.

She never knew water could hurt.

The water at home was familiar, safe, transparent…at the bottom of the shower, her parents filled it with a few inches. She’d joyfully splash bouncing on the turquoise tile, gleefully shrieking, baby peals of laughter. She looked like a little buddha, her mama said it’s because she had “Too much tittie dinner.” That shower water was a sure thing, welcoming, inviting, always a good time.

She painfully discovered that water was not the same out in the world, far away from the safety of her cool turquoise splash pad of home.

The water of the world was littered with hidden things that could lure and bite. The tranquil infinite edge nothing but a pool of illusion, hypnotizing and irresistible. Bittersweet initiation, wading into the human experience, a magnificent ocean, glittering with the loss of innocence.

It was Mandeville, Lake Pontchartrain, Fontainebleau Park. Southeast Louisiana Hospital was also in Mandeville. Foreshadowing happens, not only in novels, it’s a real thing.

First memories, so faded, the edges blurring and blending in layers of time. Exploring, adventure, learning, wondering, playing, daydreaming…sleep fighting, “I don’t want to miss out on anything, must… stay…awake.”

The gaps in your memory spackled with stories your tickled parents tell again and again gleefully. “When you were one you used to hold your breath when you didn’t get your way, your face would turn so red, till you finally had to breathe,” they’d say chuckling. “I remember the time the neighbor across the street called asking me if I knew you were outside ripping down the Japanese plum tree, you could pitch some fits.”

 “It was a good thing that time when you were 2, I happened to wake up, I could sense something was wrong, and you’d sneaked the matches and lit one in your bed after we all went to sleep. You were staring, hypnotized as it was burning a hole in the mattress,” my mother told me earnestly, her face concerned and yet relieved.

I remember sticking chopsticks and then a fork in the electrical sockets, I was too curious and impulsive for my own good, the shock was strange, scary but it didn’t stop me.

I’d sneak out into the kitchen and take cookies late at night when they were still awake, and I also hid behind the furniture and watched whatever they had on TV.

 I’d also watch Dark Shadows even though they told me not to. Up until I was about 6 years old, I slept with the covers bunched up around my neck in case the vampires got in the window near my bed.

I would be petrified when I forgot to close my closet, the clothes turned into shadowy monsters, ghosts and mummies. My imagination ran wild, I’d picture a zombie clawed hand trying to grab me from under the bed if any appendage strayed over the edge. I sometimes slept with the blanket over my face, trying not to move or breathe too loudly, terrified of the creatures of the night. That smothery, petrified claustrophobia, holding out until sleep finally rescued me.

I played outside alone at age 3, it seems so irresponsible now, after having children myself. I don’t know how I didn’t get hurt. Well maybe I did. I had hives all the time after my solitary explorations in our grassy field of a backyard. Who knows what I got into?

Everything seemed so big to me. I swear I saw a giant spider hiding under a wooden pallet, like 6-8 inches diameter, whoa! It looked like a tarantula. And I would look at my mother’s poop sometimes before it was flushed away and marveled, how could that big of a turd come out of her butt?

Everything was interesting and needed to be examined. Nothing was off limits until some grown up told me otherwise. Anything was possible.

I wanted to be a go-go dancer. There were plaster figures of blonde ballerinas with metallic gold crowns and pink tutus en pointe on the wall above my bed. But I wanted to shake my long dark hair wildly while standing on a pedestal wearing white go-go boots, doing “the monkey” with ecstatic abandonment. I’d wear my black go-go boots and stand on the kid sized brown pleather upholstered rocking chair and get my go-go on, teetering atop the chair bucking away in rhythm with me.

Excerpt from Carokashu 😀 a memoirish work in progress.

I’d already had this written, but it’s never been shared, so I think it counts for my 365 day challenge?

It’s been fun writing Carokashu. I got into a groove there for a bit, but then I got out of my routine since November when I decided to switch jobs and move so I could get out of nursing.

Hopefully I can get back into a routine by the end of this month to where I can also work on Carokashu in addition to blogging and videoing. Yeah, that’s the plan! 😀 Yay! ?

Michelle Miyagi
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