The carpet is a green shag - tres seventies; the stairs seem impossibly high. No one else is around. I want to be upstairs, so I decide to climb. I place my hands on the second step from the bottom; lifting my right leg, I lurch upward and forward. Step one. This process is repeated a second time. I don't have the floor as a balance, so I use my hands to assist my right leg in pulling me upward. On the third attempt, my right leg gets caught in the long Holly Hobby dress my mother made for me, I lose my grip on the carpet and slide backward - back to square one. I try this again with the same result - two steps; slide. I try again, and again, and again. Finally, I scream in frustration. The body cast that begins beneath my rib cage, goes across both hips and renders my entire left leg immobile is truly cramping my style. I am alone. I am fighting. I am two years old.
This is my first memory of myself, and as such, I consider it my defining moment. Whenever I recall this, it is assigned the mental caption "Birth of the Maverick" (who preceded Black Mamba by several years.) I know that my parents were somewhere nearby, because when I screamed, one of them promptly came to my aid; yet, even then, I needed to do things myself. Go take care of those other suckers. I GOT this.
I've always hated to admit that there are things in this world I can't handle myself. This trait infuriated my parents, and I'm fairly certain they believed I did this to spite them. Rather than surmising that I came from self-sufficient stock, they presumed that I was rejecting them, so, in a sense, they rejected me. This wasn't done in a neglectful way. It was actually quite subtle. And also quite understandable. Part of me liked it that way. They had a loose idea of my interests, kept tabs on my friends, made sure I was home on time, talked to me about sex and drugs. The definitely followed the good parents rule book. Most of all, they loved me, which is something I can't stress enough. I live by the rule that I love people in the way they allow me. I think that is what my parents did with me. They didn't exactly quit, but they didn't put themselves in a position where they could be fired either. Ours was a relationship filled with ferocious love, yet casual disinterest.
In order for me to do this justice, get some sleep, and avoid being a terrible bore, I think I'll address my relationship with each of them in my next two posts.