The Slow-Cooked Sentence

A key

Rachael Conlin Levy
Photo courtesy of alicia rae.

“Memories remain incomplete in your head but sometimes, if the memory is shared, you can pool resources and come up with a version that feels true.”
Molly Young of Magic Molly.

I’m thinking of a particular memory. We — me, my brother Joe — were sitting on the back of the yellow Honda Civic, clutching the metal bumper as the car weaved and hiccuped across … what? I remember a potted dirt road. Joe swears it was an alkali flat. I was, maybe, 12. Joe, 9. He says we were fighting, and our dad had stopped the car and told us to walk home. But who’s idea was it to ignore the order and jump on the back?

I only remember the dust and coughing. Of legs, too long, scraping against bushes. Of feet dragging. I remember my fear mingling with, first, shock that my dad was actually trying to throw us off the back of the car, and, second, determination to not let him succeed.

I think Joe may have fallen off. When I asked my dad about it, he just smiled and denied it happened. But each of us — Joe, my dad and I — got a third of the memory. Next time I see Joe, we’ll unlock it and fill in the gaps.

Inspired by Molly Young’s post “Not a cloud marred the blood-red sun.” For more thoughts on keys, visit Sunday Scribblings.

2 responses to “A key”

  1. Linda says:

    I think I may have a quarter of that memory, reducing the size that you, Joe and Dad have, for I recall that it was the daffodil colored yellow Chevy van. I don't recall Joe falling off (or letting go) but that may have happened. Oh the stories we could all tell.

  2. Rachael Levy says:

    Oh, wow! That is really funny that I have an entirely different car in my mind. If you don't remember anyone falling off, what happened next? Did dad stop the car and we climb back in? Or did he drive home with us hanging on the back?

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