I remember being in an abyss, the sounds of moving parts and fluids swishing and sloshing around. The small intestines, rib-cage, pancreas, liver and other internal organs surrounding me as my body was maturing and my bones were growing into place. I remember the area around me contracting in and out, spasmodically at first then more consistently as time went on, which meant that my release date was coming, and coming soon. I remember when my hearing began to come into play, and the sound of indistinct voices began to fill my ears.
I could make nothing of these sounds, as they were new and magical, in a way; the sounds were almost like a song when I first heard them but quickly turned into the ramblings of everyday people talking about things that don’t matter. I remember feeling a sudden force push me forward as if trying to throw me out of the place I’d spent the better part of nine months inhabiting.
The upper part of the body began to close in, and the bottom began to expand, and a light peeked through. I couldn’t move my head, but I felt the cool air touch my scalp as it got closer to the tiny hole the light was peeking through. The indistinct sounds became clearer as I subconsciously made my way through, working with the invisible force pushing me.
“Here comes the head.” I heard someone say. “You’re almost there, just keep pushing.”
I didn’t know what these words meant but my subconscious seemed to, and thus my body began pushing along with the invisible force inside, working together in a perfect harmony one comes across once, maybe twice in a lifetime. The invisible force and I continued to push, at some points, it faltered as if taking a break, and gradually my head would make it through, then my arms, then my body, and then my legs.
“Alright, the baby’s out Mrs. Mckenzie.” the man in all white said when my eyes first opened and witnessed him. “Would you like to hold him?”
“Of course.” A woman’s voice came from my left side as I was being carried over. The second thing I saw was a smiling woman with tears streaming down her face. Deep, beautiful green eyes which complemented her dark, caramel skin looking down at me and planting kisses on my forehead and cheeks; rocking me back and forth as I cried relentlessly at the sudden change I was experiencing.
“So, what’s his name?” I guess the man in all white was the one who asked.
“His name is Kay.” The woman replied. “Kay Mckenzie.”
I’ve always had a great memory. It’s the thing people remember most about me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a name, place, thing, sequence of events, details of a blueprint or some highly complex design; My memory has always been accurate. One hundred percent accurate. However, there’s this one memory that I can’t seem to recall, a memory that’s well within the capacity of my subconscious mind but my conscious mind can’t seem to reach. I’ve been struggling for months on end trying to figure out what this memory is, this…mystery memory; better yet, let’s call it the God Memory. Yeah, that sounds better.
This memory takes place before my birth (which most people don’t remember first hand) and every time I try to recall it or bring it to mind in my spare time, all I get is a cloud of smoke or a sea of light gray with smoky designs like an abstract painting. No matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to get through that gray barrier. It’s like God doesn’t want me to see something, hence the term God Memory.
It all started when I was five years old. I grew up in a cul-de-sac with suburban houses and public parks. A place where kids rode their bikes around the block and left them outside every afternoon for lunch and every night for dinner. A place where the sun always seemed to shine and the lawns were always mowed, where neighbors greeted each other when they stepped out of their houses to check the mail or pick up the morning paper. A place that epitomized the American Dream.
The place I grew up was Chino Hills, California. A place where you weren’t going anywhere without a car. I mean, the bus came by…eventually, but, really, you needed a car to get to wherever you wanted to go whether it be the mall, a corner store, to grab a bite to eat, even hang out at the local cafe or Starbucks. It was ridiculous (I only say that because I didn’t have a car and I was always on someone else’s time) but for the most part, my childhood was a blast.
My father worked as an Electrical Engineer at California Edison and my mother worked as a Nurse at the local Hospital. I had a babysitter named Lila that always called me “Lil Kay” and pinch my cheeks every time she saw me. I didn’t mind. She’d usually let me do what I wanted while she watched shows like Friends and The X-Files, you know, back when shows used to be good.
One day, while both my parents were at work and Lila was watching me outside while I played (I was riding my bike around the cul-de-sac and had come back and set it down to play basketball) and while I was about to shoot the ball, a gray flash consumed my vision and my body paused involuntarily. A deep cloud of smoky gray was all I saw but at the same time it wasn’t, I could see everything. I didn’t know what I was seeing at the time but, when I recall it now, I saw what my parents were really doing at work. My father was having sex with his boss doggy style in her office and my mother was handling two patients in the same room.
One patient had cancer and the other one Parkinson’s. I didn’t know what either of those diseases was until I got older but at the time, I was perfectly aware of what they did. They killed people from the inside. My mother was attending both patients at the same time because the hospital was understaffed and she had to take longer shifts (she often came home at midnight or one in the morning) and my father had returned to work with a little more spring in his step (which was probably why he always made great money and was in a good mood).
When I came back to reality, I was laying on the couch and a paramedic had a stethoscope on my bare chest and was shining a flashlight in my eyes.
“Well, look who’s back.” The Paramedic said. “You alright there, little buddy?”
I nodded and turned my head and saw Lila standing a couple inches behind him looking scared.
“You gave us a little scare there and your babysitter had to call us and your parents.” The paramedic continued. “Your father is on his way and should be here any minute, okay.”
“Alright, just lay there and relax while I talk to your babysitter for a moment.”
The paramedic took Lila aside and from the look of his gestures, he was explaining something to her. He took out a paper and pen and wrote what I assumed was his number down on the paper and gave it to her. She smiled and placed a hand on his biceps and rubbed along it. He picked up his things and said ‘see ya later little guy’ as he left the house and got in the ambulance, reversed out of the driveway and drove down the street. When he was out of sight, Lila came up to me.
“You okay, Lil Kay?” She asked with concern in her voice. “What happened out there?”
I shrugged and scratched my head. I wasn’t much of a talker then (I’m not much of a talker now either) but it wasn’t like I couldn’t speak. I could speak as well as any five-year-old. I just didn’t feel the need to use words because my parents always said, ‘children are to be seen, never heard’ and I guess I subconsciously took heed to that. Even now.
My father was the first to get home and asked Lila what happened. She told him and then he came up and asked if I was alright. His breath smelled of tacos with a hint of Diet Coke and he had lettuce in his teeth toward the back. His dark chocolate eyes had bags underneath them and his beard was scruffy because he’d been getting more hours and better pay (and having sex with his boss).
He asked what happened and I told him in as few words as possible. I said, “I was playing and then I saw gray smoke and my body stopped working”. My father asked me if I meant clouds in the sky and I shook my head. He ruffled my hair and picked me up. He went over to Lila and told her she did the right thing and paid her for her time. He tipped her fifty dollars. She said thank you and ruffled my hair then kissed and pinched my cheeks and I smiled. I watched her walk away as the sun set on one of the cul-de-sacs in Chino Hills.
My father asked if I wanted to go get a bite to eat and I smiled and nodded. He laughed because he knew that’d cheer me up and the next thing I know I’m strapped into the car seat in the back of his Escalade (because he didn’t want to get a regular Honda van, if he was gonna be a family man, he was gonna at least look relatively stylish while doing it) and we were on our way to McDonald’s where I got the kids meal with a toy inside.
Tell me what you think in the comments! I read and reply to all of them and welcome feedback for improving my stories, poetry, and insights. Thanks for reading!