This is another installment of a rough draft of a memoir chapter that covers fourth grade.
To start this piece from the beginning, click here.
One night, in my room early as usual, I was laying in bed, trying to sleep, trying not to sleep. My light was still on and I looked at my big red numbers on my large-print alarm clock, doing math problems with the numbers as always. It was 8:17. One and seven made eight. 8:24. Twenty-four divided by eight was three. Two times four made eight. Suddenly I remembered something. It came to me out of nothing. A long time ago, maybe when we first moved in to our house four years ago, Dad had said something about a crawl space or something in our basement. It might be almost like a secret passage.
The next time we had a baby-sitter I went exploring. I found the entrance, above the dryer. It looked almost like a window, at the top of the wall, short and wide like a basement window just peaking above the ground, except the other side of this just looked black. I got a flashlight and climbed on top of the dryer. Then I hoisted myself up, inch by inch, into the little window, into blackness.
The ground was covered in something that felt plastic, almost like an enormous garbage bag. The space stretched out but there was no room to stand or even sit up straight. I crawled around to explore its contours, found a bunch of wires and cords over on the left, just a few feet from the entrance. I moved further off to the right, but all I found was more plastic bag floor.
The next time Maya was over and Mom thought we were playing Barbies in the cellar, I showed her the secret passage. She watched me but didn’t climb up. I made a map in our mystery notebook. She asked about the lights from the aliens and I told her they hadn’t come back in awhile. “It’s weird,” I said. “It’s like they appeared for maybe a month and then they disappeared.” We recorded my lies right next to the real map of the real closest thing I’d ever seen in to a secret passage.
Next Segment in this Piece: Close Only Counts in Horseshoes
So this is an excerpt from a chapter from a project I’m working on called Eclipses of Jupiter. It’s in its infancy still, but it’s about growing up with albinism and being legally blind in my crazy family, and all the school and social implications. It’ll also focus on blind camp and related programs when I get into teenage years. This chapter, broken up into installments and posted over several weeks, is all about fourth grade, which was a bit of an epic school year. It’s still pretty rough, and way too long, so yeah, infancy stage still.
Check out the Samples Page, as well as Published and Early Work, to read more of my writing!
- The “Truth” About Me – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 1
- Instrument Analysis – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 2
- Mystery Worlds – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 3
- Bathroom Jungle Gym – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 4
- Caught in the Act – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 5
- Light as a Feather – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 6
- Dark Winter Chill – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 7
- From Secret Passages to Aliens – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 8
- The Birthday Cracker Wrapper – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 9
- Sleepovers and Upward Social Mobility – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 10
- Walking Home and Crossing Streets – Truth, Lies and the Wicked With 11
- Lost Keys – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 12
- Aftermath – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 13
- Driving Blind Under a Desert Moon
- Dusky Waters, Orcas Island
- Music Takes Me Back – Camp Marcella 1993
- Writing as Time Travel
Cool! My house was a one-story postwar suburban tract house with no basement or secret anything in it. But in sixth grade I visited my friend John’s house, which was an old two-story frame house with a basement and an unfinished attic that John and his brothers regularly went up into. The basement had a crawl space a lot like the one you describe, and I was absolutely enthralled. The parents were gone the whole time, and John and his brothers had an apparently totally unsupervised family life a lot like Nelson on The Simpsons or Dill and his brothers in Cul de Sac. We did all kinds of fun shit like ride a mattress down the stairs. When I didn’t go back home for supper my angry dad showed up to get me and I was forbidden to ever go back.