Innocence

It might have been the last moment before I lost my innocence as a child. Before I may have witnessed the suffering of the world.

It was raining.  My middle sister was sitting next to me in the backseat.  My mom was alone in the front, driving through Fairfax.

I was four years old. I watched the rain create streams of water across the front window shield. It would be a few years before the long drought. I looked out the side window,  the creeks in Marin County were overflowing, flooding the small bridge we crossed over to reach the grocery store and bank a short distance from our apartment in the hills.

My best friend was a tortoise named "Tommy", my mom bought me at the pet store. I loved Tommy. I fed him lettuce on the porch overlooking the hillside. I was fascinated by the way he stretched his neck out, reaching for a piece of iceberg I held in my tiny hand, gently taking it and chomping it slowly until it disappeared.  He was fairly large, encased in a hard beautiful shell.

In the car as we drove through the storm, the radio cackled, it was 1969 and Joni Mitchell's voice and guitar played:

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air

I leaned back and closed my eyes, the car carrying us home, the windshield wipers squeaking across the window:

And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way.

My mom looked back at my sister and me for a short moment and while Joni Mitchell's voice spoke to the angels, she told us we had a baby sister who was on her way.

I remember being so excited and feeling a love so big, I couldn't contain it.

Six month later, my little sister was born.




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