I won't be repeating this story to many people. In fact, I cannot guarantee that this story will appear to be the same story if it becomes printed into multiple books. I just want to be honest here. Stories are just a fancy way of strategically rearranging the alphabet. It's actually quite magical. So magical, in fact, that I'm not completely sure that the letters of the alphabet haven't figured out ways to rearrange themselves without the help of a writer. So many words share the same letters that I am sure that there are times when they swap(paws) places with each other while the book is closed up on a shelf (flesh). And what if you picked it up and started reading before they snuck back into their proper places? You may just have a different story altogether! That being said, I can guarantee that while all the letters may be the same, certain words may be different in the pages of other readers. So, don't go counting on someone else's rendition of this story. It may not be yours. And yours may not be theirs.
My mother warned me about jumping on the bed, but for all the wrong reasons. She didn't want me to jump too close to the edge and end up in Anderson Memorial Hospital in a full body cast. My dad didn't want to deal with my mom's anger at me ending up in Anderson Memorial Hospital in a full body cast. She also didn't want me to laugh too loudly. A child should know how how to keep their top and bottom lips hugging. She enjoyed stillness. Quiet nights. And quiet mornings. She was a purposeful woman. She was up every morning by 5:00am making herself a cup of jet black Maxwell House coffee and smoking a Newport cigarette on the porch before we all woke up and started asking for stuff like biscuits and milk. Daddy always woke up after her because he knew that she had to finish the work of setting his stage. She put water into his thermos, packed his lunch, made his breakfast, and helped him find his socks every morning for the entire nine years of my life. I even once hid them myself to see if she could still find them. She did.
The Mattress Chronicles
Nine years is a long time. It started with infancy, and rumor has it that I never shed a tear as a baby. I just stared. I remember that, although my parents say it's not possible to remember being a baby. I used to just watch every single thing that came across my path. I once saw a grasshopper strike a match on the front porch and use it to light a corner spider web on fire. I once saw a cat use my mom's car keys to get inside the car to pop the hood open so he could climb in to hunt for a family of field mice who had built a nest inside the engine. I once saw my grandma Nanny Aye squeeze real love out of her chest (it looked like sparkling molasses) and pour it into a simmering pot of homemade chicken and dumplings. I once saw a family of ants at a funeral. The fire ants had accidentally built a wall too flimsily that caved into their tunnel after a summer rain. The landslide killed two of their prize crumb toters, and the ants mourned so heavily. They all bent down on their knees and sang to The Creator and begged for even more strength and wisdom to improve their future construction projects. I left a piece of lemon pound cake near one of their mounds that day to help comfort them.
...to be continued