I am trying another first tonight. I am responding to Lillian at d’Verse’s prompt for Halibun Monday: ‘Walk with me down Memory Lane’
Lillian gives instructions on how to do a memory exercise BEFORE writing the haibun.
Get a few pieces of blank paper, have pen in hand, close your eyes for a minute and go back as far as you can in time… to your first memories not triggered by a photograph or by family lore. Maybe it’s what your very first house looked like. Maybe you suddenly remember your dad teaching you to ride your first bike. Or what your yard looked like – or the inside of your very best childhood friend’s house. Now for your haibun, pick one memory you’ve written down and relay it to us.
My story begins with an incident that was often relayed in my family. The problem with a family recounting, is that it is only from the adult’s perspective. The story goes, that one day, my mom returned from work and came into my room to check on me. I shared a tiny bedroom with my little brother. I was three and he was one and a half. He was still in a crib. Mom went to the dresser to get me some baby aspirin because both my brother and I had a cold. The bottle was empty, so she asked the babysitter where the new bottle was. The sitter replied that it was on the dresser. My mother asked me if I had taken any of the medicine. I replied that I had eaten the entire bottle. According to my mother I explained that I wanted to get better faster so I took all of them. I was asked if I gave any to the baby. My answer was that no, I didn’t want to share.
From my point of view, I remember a lot of screaming and yelling between the sitter and my mom. (No 911 then) I didn’t understand what was happening, so I cried. A neighbor came running in the house and my mom tossed me onto the car along with the sitter. I was on her lap and both were telling me not to go to sleep. I cried because I was scared and tired. The sitter started singing very loudly and I covered my ears. I was being jostled while sitting in her lap. (No car seats back then.)
We drove up to a big building and people in all white clothes grabbed me from the sitter. Words were exchanged and I was petrified. I thought I was being punished for eating all the baby aspirin. No one bothered to say anything to me. They just talked amongst themselves. I wanted my mom and cried for her. I kicked, screamed, and scratched to try and get out of their hands. They were pinning me down. There were people all around me. They held down my legs, my arms, my chest, and my head. The next thing I knew they were shoving something down my throat. It hurt. I felt scared, especially when I was throwing up through a tube. (That’s what I thought was happening.)
I don’t know how much later it was, but I remember being in a huge bed. Once my mom came in I cried again. This time it hurt very bad when I cried. I had no idea what had happened or why. My mom comforted me and told me it was OK, but that I should never take any pills. Someone said I almost died. I was unable to swallow pills until I was in my thirties.
Why am I hurting
What is happening to me
Just leave me alone