Twice Around the Clock
So now I've been twice around the clock.
I'm a bit afraid. I don't want to fall behind. I don't know what tomorrow will be made of. Could be anything.
A girl just started to play the piano. My neighbor. It could also be an old man, I just picture it being a young girl. The melody is somehow feminine. Hear it?
I remember my third birthday. I recall buying my presents in a giant shopping mall, and choosing a set of little cars, and a big truck. It was red, and had two yellow buttons which activated its small speaker. "Hook 'em up, move 'em out!" it screeched. I loved it. I remember opening the package, and knowing what I'd find. It made me the happiest ever anyway. It was somewhere in the Caribbean. I may have decided I wouldn't like surprises that day. Click.
I remember my fifth. It was on a weird island called American Samoa. It had a lot of fat people and a Vietnamese man Dad worked for. The stray dogs were aggressive. I discovered not only the ocean and its reefs were harmful. I received a set of tools I could tinker with. I still preferred a good old piece of sand paper and a scrap of wood I could take back to its initial form: dust.
Number 6 was in Fiji. Mom made profiteroles I disliked. I think they had rum. There was also this beautiful beach small fishing boats could get over at high tide. That's all.
The seventh was in New Caledonia, in the South, near Ile des Pins. Father offered me a machete. I felt like a grownup. I also got Yo-zuri lures I couldn't use. My dad could. Somehow my lures always caught the most fish. Lucky boy.
My eight candle blowing took place in New Caledonia once again, on its most northern island: a 2 mile strip of sand of absolute peace called Ile Huon. I remember the gifts and the party. And the meal. Freshly speared fish with Ciguatera. A highly deadly toxin present in the flesh of contaminated fish. Mom was pregnant. My elder brother will always remember, his throat itches as soon as he eats raw fish ever since. He got some of it, somewhere. My mother can't donate blood, it's there too. But no one even got sick. Often we were lucky. Sometimes I wonder where that luck went.
I've put music. It's so loud I can't hear myself write. That voice in my head. It's silent.
My ninth was in Mooloolaba, Australia. The first time I had some friends, right on that day. Great. And there was this girl, with curly hair. Her name was Sereena. It was the first time I had interest for a female. It was deeply intriguing. Mystifying. Perfect.
Then we left.
My tenth was in Singapore. I just remember that. I forgot the rest. I think I was afraid. When I'm scared I forget things. I'd discovered the dangers of this world too young. Adult problems. Money. Family. Sorrow. Death. Get back up. Until. Repeat.
Number eleven was in France. Middle void. Smooth breeze. Rough landing. Low class. High expectations. Big experience. Small minds. Huge shock. Little disappointment. Great fall. Slight rebirth.
I don't remember 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. I just don't. I could tell where I was approximately, but not the presents, the cakes, the people, the environment. I can't recall the emotions, the smiles on peoples faces. In fact among those there is one where I cried. I often celebrated with my mother, as we are born exactly 29 years apart, minus three days. Anyway. I cried. Mom thought "Never again." I think she did.
I never cried again. Not in front of her.
I remember 17. Well. Not the celebration. The vibe. I left my first girlfriend two days after, or three. I kind of liked her. I wasn't sure. She loved me. I was scared. The vibe sucked. She gave me a watch I never wore, but still have. She thought me a lot. More than I deserved. Born again.
18 is a mystery. So is 19. 20? No idea. 21? I'm clueless.
I must have been afraid.
22? Yes. Toulouse. Freedom.
23? Of course. China. I was asked for a speech. I stood up on the edge of a bench and spoke of fears. How I thought maybe I'd meet nobody. No friends. Other side of the world. Then how lucky I was. I'd met them. For another year I'd be lucky.
24? Undoubtedly. But I'm a bit afraid. So I think I'll forget. Tomorrow. Or after.
I hope I won't.
Help me to remember.
To you Mom, celebrating your birthday on this day.
I maybe out of your sight, but you will always be in my heart.