What I remember is being out on my bicycle, the very cool one with the green banana seat, and I was out cruising our neighbourhood on a beautiful, warm spring day. It was one of those Zen days where the sky is so blue and clear that if you keep looking up at it you start to feel like you’re falling into it. The breeze was like a gentle caress against my tender young arms that were covered in freckles and peach fuzz.
As I rounded the curve where Stanford straightened out in front of my house I caught the glint of sunlight off of glass and I pulled my bike onto the yard for a closer look. An empty pop bottle. I knew from Mr. Rogers that it was not cool to litter and I thought I’d save the planet and pick up the bottle to take it home and toss it in the trash. I grabbed it in one hand, picked up my bike and carefully held it and my handle grip with my left hand with my right hand holding onto the dark green grip on the other side. I pedaled home, please with my good deed, a repayment to momma earth for the incredible day I was enjoying.
I pulled into the drive at 305 Stanford, tossed the bottle and walked in the side door. Here’s where it goes from a linear memory to shakey cam. My mom is in the kitchen and looks at me. I scream. She’s screams. She’s grabbing me now and pulling me outside. She stands me in the driveway and rips my shirt off of me and yells at me to take off my Lee jeans. She’s going for the hose. I’m crying and screaming and shaking and becoming more and more aware of the five thousand black ants that are crawling all over me, transferred from the pop bottle and on to me. Mom is turning on the hose and I’m smacking all over my body. POW! The icey blast of water from the garden hose hits me. I’m in the driveway with my tighty whities. The water hurts. I’m in my tighty whities! I’m freezing. I’m outside in my tighty whities! The ants are gone. The picture stabilizes and there I am, standing in a puddle, mostly naked in broad daylight for my whole neighbourhood to see.
I still can’t stand ants.
My therapist loves this story.