“Say ‘lettuce’ and spell ‘cup.’”
We see those photographs of us as children teasing each other and we call them keepsakes. A time we can’t return to, snapshots of the smallest versions of us literally experiencing everything for the first time in our lives.
Does that suggest that, because we are recycling the same emotions again and again, that we are not actually becoming bigger versions of ourselves, but the same tiny kids experiencing mutations of the same things—some stronger, some weaker?
“Stretch your mouth and say ‘pirate ship.’”
I’m taking pictures everyday. The way the wineglass sweats on the nightstand, the sun peeking through peonies, drunk spills at the bar. I used to be enamoured by the thought that a picture could keep a memory alive, and capture the people inhabiting it in a moment where they will never be the same people again. But I’ve come to realize that, upon flipping through old albums, these glossy photographs haunt me with everything I have ever lost, and all the people I used to be.
I remember a childhood April afternoon, when we flooded in from recess and my blond crush stood by his locker across the hallway and mouthed that he loved me.
“Stick out your tongue and say ‘apple.’”
But I have played these games before, and I knew if you thought about the words and warped your mouth in your mind for long enough, you’d never be bullied again.
I turned away from his smile and headed for class, because I understood that even the ones you want to love will always fit into elephant shoes.