Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Gainesville, Florida USA



My dad left the day I was born. Apparently he walked into the maternity ward of the hospital, took one look at me laying there in my mom's arms and said "that's not my wife, and that's not my kid" and walked out. Seriously, it is allegedly as dramatic as that. My three brothers and one sister were much older and left home shortly after, so I felt a lot like an only child, and my mom and I came to be fast friends. We were poor so our neighbor, a sweet old lady, would feed us. Her daughter was bed ridden, permanently crippled, from a school bus accident when she was only five years old. The daughter lived in a bed in the back room of our neighbor's house and never saw the sun. "She has the nicest skin," my mom said more than once. Our neighbor kept chickens in her back yard and she would ring their necks, feather them, and my mom and I would get the dark meat.
I was a superb athlete and played city league softball and soccer. I was the only girl on my soccer team and the best goalie. In second grade I put on impromptu puppet shows for my whole class every Wednesday. They always starred Kermit and Miss Piggy. I discovered I was a hell of a singer before I started elementary school. My first song was called "tuna fish sandwiches" and it "went tuna fish sandwiches taste so good... that's why you eat 'em, that's why you should!" very vaudeville, with great gusto and embellishment. When I was a little girl I REALLY wanted to be a mermaid. And I owned, as all little ones do, the mystery and potential of a random seed. My destiny was manifest. Instead of learning to swim the breaststroke or the crawl I focused on perfecting the dolphin kick. I learned to hold my breath for up to three minutes underwater (and consequently, as a miniature diva, I could match the end note of Whitney Houston's 'The Greatest Love of All'). While on trips to the beach I would remain in the water for hours at a time, careful to keep my bottom half under, convinced that passers by would recognize me as I was: other-worldly, a creature of the sea. I cut a pair of satiny pajamas that I owned up the middle and made a mermaid "tail" out of one leg that I would wiggle both of my little legs into and lay in the surf flapping the tail at anyone who would walk by to illustrate my authenticity.
I dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and ran away from home. I lived in Atlanta, Georgia with my first boyfriend, who I thought I was going to marry. We split up and I stayed in the city, worked three jobs to pay rent. One of them was putting photograph images on coffee mugs. That was pretty fun. But I was broke all the time and under age. I couldn't even go out at night. I came back to Florida . I started playing shows-just me singing some songs I wrote with an acoustic guitar- in coffee houses and local bars. I recorded my songs in house studios and people with more money than me started putting the recordings out on vinyl and cd. I fell in love for the first time when I was 20 years old, with a coon ass, redneck, wild man whom many people have compared to Jesus. Not that he resembled His Holiness, but because he was a good person. He'd stick his arm in the fire for you. I married him. We played music together and traveled all over Europe.
Meanwhile, back home, my brother was in a terrible wreck and lost both his legs under a train. My sister was murdered in her home four years later. My brother hasn't spoken her name in eleven years.
The husband and I divorced. I put myself through college by taking out loans and working "as a waitress in a cocktail bar" and graduated with highest honors. I planned to move to Providence, Rhode Island so I could beg or infiltrate my way into Brown University. A week before I was set to leave I got my tarot cards read. The fortune teller said " I see a move up north for you. This won't be the biggest mistake you'll ever make in your life, but you will be very uncomfortable there." Three days later I woke up with my neck so stiff I couldn't turn my head. The symptoms persisted for four days. I moved to St Augustine; took up surfing. I loved it! I ran into a man I'd secretly desired for a decade. We dated for 100 days and got married all whirlwind, heat and flash. We put a lot of effort and commitment into loving each other. I have a six month old baby who is the light of my life. We go on bike rides, swim together, and I play guitar for him. I write whole new songs now.