Preface (or would this be an Introduction or Forward?) (I prefer “Interlude” but is it possible to be interluding so soon?)
I, Isabel Scheherazade, am 12-years old. Still a kid, technically. But this story is not-just-for-kids. It’s a memoir.
My dad was writing a memoir with his high school Freshmen. (He’ll never finish it, BTW.) I ask him, “How do you decide which stories?”
“It’s the ones that’ll ring a bell in my heart when I’m 99,” he says.
How’s that for a not-really-an-answer answer? But now that I’ll never see him again I get it. My mind and heart throb with my stories. The movie rating for this memoir of mine wouldn’t be G or even PG. The reviewers would say it’s “edgy.” Maybe it will get one of those parental warnings for violence and death. (I read a lot about censorship; that’s how I know about this stuff.)
Mom and Dad were killed.
A guy in a truck ran a red light; my parents swerved to avoid him and rolled over and over down this steep hill.
They wouldn’t let us see Mom and Dad after the accident. This means that the last time I saw them was about 5 PM. Mimi and Pop (my grandparents) had come over to babysit for date night. I was on our front porch in my PJ’s. Toothpaste and timer-controlled electric toothbrush competed with words in my mouth. I was telling Dad that Pop and I were going to play Settlers of Catan.
So, didn’t even give them a good night kiss.
Since that night, me, Clyde, Sam (they’re twins) and Mimi and Pop sip and gulp from a Huge Cup of Sorrow.
I notice, though, even on the worst days I see OVER the lip of the cup a tiny bit. It’s because I’m trying to write.
Stories jump up and down to get my attention.
I’m like this lady Pop told me about. She thinks someone is trying to poison her, so pretty soon, since she expects it, all her food begins to taste funny. Because I’m hunting for stories, I find them. All around me. Just waiting for me to pick them up.
My memories are organized like our minivan (the one that rolled down the embankment.) Before it got squashed, it had three rows of seats.
I’ve got stories about what’s happening Right This Minute: The Front Seat memories. They’re full of our life With Mimi and Pop, school, neighbors, every day kinds of stuff. Some big. Some little.
I’ve got stories of Mom and Dad’s car crash: That’s the Middle Row of Seats. But most times it’s like that row is turned down for storage. (In our family we used that middle section for storage because the huge double stroller didn’t fit in the usual back door storage area. So us three kids sat in the third row of seats, me in between two car seats full of noisy boys. Tight.) Back to the middle row. You know how you can press a lever to fold and turn the seat cushions so they’re out of sight? That’s how it is with the crash day memories. Out of sight. Usually.
Then there’s our whole life with Mom and Dad. Before. It’s like they’re just sitting in the Way Back Seat of my memory, waiting for me to notice them.
So, here goes. This is the story of our first few months–After. You’ll see how memories and stories jump out of the Way Back and into the Front.
Sometimes plunk right into the Middle.
PS (DO blogs have PS’s, I wonder?) But anyways:
PPS Since this IS my BLOG, feel free to make comments. I’m going to reply to everyone. Hey. Why not.
PPPS Scheherazade is my middle name. When my parents gave it to me it was like a good fairy godmother gift. I mean they were hoping I’d become a storyteller. Why else name me after the narrator of a 1001 Tales!! I wonder if my parents could have anticipated that my stories would help keep me alive? (See the comment section for more about Scheherazade.)