Pieces, part II.
I’m going to keep hacking away at this ‘memoir’ and posting the pieces I come up with. Maybe this will be the incentive I need to keep writing.
I was born second. Meghan came before me and Monica came after, with one miscarriage somewhere in between. I don’t know if my parents wanted more or less of us; somehow, throughout the course of my life, I’ve neglected to ask. As far as I’m concerned, it was always meant to be just us three.
For the first three years of my life, my family lived in a small ranch house somewhere in the suburbs of Chicago. My earliest memory is of tree sap. Meghan and I crawled on our hands and knees beneath the low-hanging branches of a tree in the yard. Nestled safely inside the tree’s darkness, we hugged the bark and whispered our nonsensical sister secrets into each other’s ears through the pine needles. When I finally emerged, shielding the sun’s yellowness from my eyes, my hands were sticky and smelled like forest honey.
A rumor circulated among the three of us for years, and it still rears its not-so-ugly head on occasion. I don’t know who started it, and I have yet to confirm or deny its accuracy, but the story stands. The rumor is, in a nutshell, as follows: Dad desperately wanted to name my older sister Moonbeam, because he was a crazy hippie back then who loved strummin’ his guitar and singin’ along to old Cat Stevens records. Everyone knows crazy hippies name their kids things like Moonbeam (I would’ve preferred the name Moonshine to Moonbeam, but alas, I was not alive yet to really make my vote count. Nor did I imbibe in alcoholic beverages. Yet.). Surprisingly enough, Violeta* refused the name suggestion, choosing the lovely, selfless title ‘Meghan Violeta’ for her eldest daughter instead. This is, in my lackluster imagination’s way of seeing the world, the first bit of evidence that my mother was an unsupportive dream smotherer. She snuffed out the beams of the moon.
Violeta’s parents sent her to the United States when she was still quite young. She went to a Catholic boarding school in St. Louis and then continued her studies at Southern Illinois University, which is where she and my dad first met. I’ve often wondered about their initial encounter. Was it her Latin beauty that drew him in? I can’t imagine what else it could have been. Six years older than my father, she’d had more time to hone her powers of manipulation, and he less to develop his internal bullshit detector. Throw them both on a level playing field, and I’m sure my life would’ve been much different. Perhaps I wouldn’t be alive at all.
*Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.