This is another installment of a rough draft of a memoir chapter that covers fourth grade. This is the penultimate installment–only one more to go!
On the afternoon of May tenth, when my dad got home from work, he and Mom sat me, Randy and June down in the living room. What could it be this time? Though it had subsided for awhile, the way light fell on the wall when I walked in from school was creeping me out again. The light was yellower, more spring-like, and it reminded me of something else I couldn’t remember and it made me feel like something terrible was imminent.
Dad spoke first this time. “The Bureau has transferred me,” he said. “To Newark, New Jersey.”
“Well not exactly Newark,” Mom corrected as if we, at ten, eight and three had ever heard of that city and its reputation for dirt, drugs and crime.
“Right,” Dad agreed. “A field office outside Newark called West Paterson. We’ll be looking for a house in one of the nearby small towns.”
“We’re moving,” I said.
“Yes,” said Mom.
Randy and June didn’t seem to mind, just like I hadn’t when we moved to Buffalo when I was five. But I started to cry. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to lose my Girl Scout troop, to not go back to Hammond House next year. I didn’t want to lose Maya, or the girls and boys in my grade that were starting to not make fun of me so often, the sleepover. Our house. The Smallwood Elementary playground. The tree out one window, the sky and the sound of the fire siren out the other. The almost secret passage.
For once Mom didn’t tell me to go somewhere else and cry. She sent Randy and June away. “I know it’s scary,” Mom said.
“I don’t want to move,” I croaked.
“I know,” she said. I thought maybe she was sad too. As much as we missed Nana, we all loved Buffalo. “Maybe it’ll be good,” Mom said. “We could start over. Kids in fifth grade might be more mature. You might have an easier time.”
“Okay,” I said, still sniffling.
The next day at recess, Maya and I sat on the bottom level of one of the playground castles, our feet in our shoes pushing on pebbles and sand. I looked at her and couldn’t imagine life without her. I looked away. “I’m moving,” I told her.
Maya looked at me. She didn’t say anything at first. “That’s bad news, Jupiter,” she said, quiet. She hadn’t called me Jupiter in a long, long time.
“I know,” I said. “I wish we weren’t. My dad got transferred.”
“That really, really sucks.”
It did but we didn’t cry. Not there on the playground.
Next Segment in this Piece: End-of-Year Fire Drills
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.
- 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
- A Sorta Secret Passage – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 14
- Close Only Counts in Horseshoes – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 15
- Driving Blind Under a Desert Moon
- Dusky Waters, Orcas Island
- Music Takes Me Back – Camp Marcella 1993
- Writing as Time Travel