Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Loose End in Time

I need to interrupt the flow of the memoir's narrative, to pick up a neglected thread.

During my second and early part of my third years my sense of time was rather non-linear. Every night I would go over the day's events in my head. Those would be in a neat linear order for me. But different days were disconnected. Looking back on it all I have to use incidental clues, later information, and reason to figure out times. For example, schools started after Labor Day throughout the U.S. and its more populous territories. Therefore, the start of school coincided with early September.

Another example is my Mother's second pregnancy. I remember wondering why her belly was sticking out. She regularly took me in to the bathroom to have me shower with her, so I saw her naked often and I could touch the belly. One of those intimate moments stands out in my mind because she used it as an opportunity to urinate on me.

As vivid as that memory is, it has, in itself, no place in time. It's like the snapshots of my family album that were once attached to pages but have since come loose, so I just tuck them with each other between some blank pages at the end, or keep them in an envelope, in a jumble.

Still, I'm able to pin it down a little. I know she wasn't too visibly pregnant when I was released from Tripler Medical Center, because I have pictures from that day. And I know she was pregnant a third time. I know that third pregnancy ended in miscarriage about a month before my third birthday, after time started getting linear for me. I know in fact that the third was a different pregnancy from the second one, just because the second went to term.

I know that the second pregnancy ended with a birth. I wasn't there for the birth, of course. I don't even remember anything at all said about it afterward, by either of my parents, for several years. All I knew at the time was, she went to the hospital with a big belly and came home without.

The earliest memory I have hearing the birth discussed was when my Mother was abusing me at age six or seven and taunted me by telling me that my brother Robert was better than me. When I asked about him, she told me he was the one who died because he was born without anything below the waist, so he wasn't dirty like me.

The main way I can place the time is by using the fact that my Mother wouldn't let my Father photograph her appearing pregnant. I recall a trip to the beach around the time the little girls had started taking care of me. The picture below, which shows me getting annoyed at one of my girlfriends, and about to whack her head with my shovel, may have been taken on that trip to the beach. My Mother isn't in any of the pictures accompanying this one. My memory is that my Mother was extremely pregnant on at least one trip to the beach. So I think the birth of Robert occurred in the summer, maybe July or August of 1951. Before the Quest began.

[Below: Getting tired of the goddamned papparazzi.]

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