The rain beat against my window on a cool Fall morning. I buried my head in the blankets, twisting and turning, struggling to remain in the comfortable world of my dreams. Seeping through our warped roof, the rain began to pound into a bucket that sat at the end of our bed.
Drip! Drip! Drip! Sleep had escaped me once again.
I crawled out of bed as gracefully as an elephant in quicksand, staggering to my bedroom door and to the coffee pot beyond that. The coffee creamer that I had purchased the evening before sat innocently on the counter. A simple glance at it, and I was thrown into a flash back of a time long ago.
I was in a dark room. Dusty and damp from age. The air smelled stale and musty. The small light forcing its way though the dirty window pane casting eerie shadows across the tiny kitchen and dining room. The old wooden floor boards, warped from years of over use complimented the crooked dining room table that we sat at. I traced my finger along one of the many cracks searing through the table, wondering how the thing remained intact.
There it sat before me. A large can of store brand coffee creamer. Its beige and red colored label staring at me knowingly. I could smell its powdery cheapness. I could taste the peculiar consistency it changed a steaming cup of coffee into.
I didn’t like coming to this place. It was dark, run down, broken, and it always had that cheap creamer staring at me with a knowledge all its own. I always felt safe when I came here though. I came here with someone that had always been around. Someone that would never let this broken home swallow me up inside its warped cracks and jagged holes. I came here with my Grandfather.
I never knew why we came here. I never knew where here was. I only knew that dark,musty, broken home. A home that reeked of poverty, rough lives and, that coffee creamer. I knew my Grandfather loved whomever we came here to see. He loved the man that had this coffee creamer as his constant side companion at that mangled dining room table. For a time, that was all I needed to know.
Time would come to pass though, as time usually does. I would grow from that perplexed little girl into an adult. I would struggle and times would get tough. On occasion, I would find that same beige and red colored coffee creamer container sitting on my own dining room table. With a glance, throwing me into a flash back of long ago.
One day, recently, money had become so tight that I could not afford the long drive to visit my dear mother, she would decide to come visit me. We sat around my dining room table talking. Catching up to the months that have flown by since we had last seen each other. As she would talk, a menacing force kept stealing my attention away, for just behind her sat that beige and red container of coffee creamer, tantalizing me into another flashback.
I could no longer take it! My focus had been stolen. I confessed to Mother of the recurring flashback that a simple container of cheap coffee creamer had caused throughout the years. I told her of the dark, dank room that I would sit in. I told her of the broken home and the broken table. I told her of the man that sat there, across the table from me, with his constant side companion of beige and red labelled coffee creamer.
It was like a dream with no sound. No real memory. I only remembered what I saw, what I felt, what I smelled. Was it even real? I spoke with a questioning tone. Questioning what was reality. Questioning if there was anything real to my recurring flashback.
Mother smiled gently as I recounted such a descriptive tale. She smiled gently, as she confessed to me, that I was remembering my Great Grandma’s house. Grandma with all the cats. The man that my Grandfather had taken me to visit was his brother, my Great Uncle.
I was told many stories of Grandma with all the cats. She had hundreds, maybe even thousands. In her later years she had become so insane, or so poor, that she would actually eat cat food. It became the only thing that she would buy. My sisters remembered Crazy Cat Lady Grandma. But, I didn’t remember.
For a long time, I believed that I had remembered nothing before the age of four. Before my hearing had fully developed. Before I had heard the sounds required to put my observations into words. My memories were simply a memory of a story retold to me by someone else. A memory, that someone else had attached their words to. It wasn’t my own.
But, I had remembered! I had a REAL memory!
My mind had typed up my memories in a language that couldn’t be read. It was all Greek to me, and I didn’t know Greek. I remembered my early childhood in a soundless visual, the observations of the deaf. I remembered in words that I no longer understood. In an understanding of the world around me, that I no longer used. I didn’t remember my memories in English, but in sights and smells, and emotions. I remembered, in a completely different language.
But… I had remembered! The realization of this flooded me with the warmth of Mothers gentle smile.
That beige and red colored container of cheap coffee creamer sat there, staring at me, ever so knowingly.