Life as an SAT Problem

When I look at it now, it’s hard to believe that the pillar at the end of our driveway ever seemed tall at all. I look at it and I laugh that my life has become an SAT problem. You remember that one, right? The bit about the kid who comes back to his hometown and everything is smaller? That kid looking at the tree he used to climb—that stuck with me, as all things that are sad do.

It makes me wonder how long this moment will stick with me, me out here on top of the pillar where I hid from the mean kids at the bus stop, still sitting Indian style thirty-something years later, though chiding myself in my brain for using phrase instead of whatever words it is that I’m supposed to use now. Criss-cross apple sauce, right? That’s what my niece tells me.

I wonder how much of my earlier memory will be filtered through this one. Will everything from this moment forward be about wondering where Ashley has run off to, how she could be a child rolling her big wheel out into the middle of the road one moment and a full-grown woman resting in a coffin the next, now without the breasts she used to pray for—literally used to kneel at her bedside and wish for. Those damned things that made her a living, then took her life.

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