When my father left and sold our green house on VanDyke road, I thought I would die. I didn’t. We brought almost nothing to our basement apartment, my mom and I, and I thought I would die. I didn’t. Someone else would dream inside my yellow bedroom walls, and I would die. I didn’t. Someone else would ride their bike into the garage and run through the screen door and eat chocolate chips from the corner cupboard and I would die. I didn’t. Someone else would lie in front of the television set (it was a set then) and eat dry roasted peanuts from the jar, and I would die. I didn’t. Someone else would wait for the school bus with wet-haired lifelong friends, and I would die. I didn’t.
We put nothing in empty in boxes and moved to Jefferson Street. My mother held my hand and sometimes I held hers, and we had everything. We learned to laugh again, and we lived. We went to the mall and tried on clothes we couldn’t afford, and bought nothing, and we lived! We parked an old blue station wagon in a shared garage and squeezed my bike on the side. The wind still raced through my hair on that bike and I was alive. Books were read and poems were written. And I was alive. Friends didn’t care where I lived, but that I lived. We had love and trust and hope and joy! Heirlooms.
Today I write the stories and give them away. Someone else will unpack what can be survived, and they will live! That, my friends, is something, everything, to hold on to.