Wednesday, April 16

The Life

Chances are, you'll never know what the term slow means. Or how it's even pronounced.

Chances are you don't know the origin of the term mark, and you've never heard an old timer talked about the days before the rides were hauled by big rigs, but of time when everything went by train.

Chances are you'll never taste sweat and dirt at 3am in the middle of a hot Texas night.

Chances are you've never spent 15 minutes arguing with someone over trade ups. Chances are you don't know what a trade up is.

Chances are when you where four you were never up past 8pm, nevermind midnight being a normal bedtime.

Chances are you didn't sleep better in a car than in your own bed.

This is what my childhood taught me.

All men aren't good, nor honest.

Women will stab other women in the back quicker and dirtier than a man ever could.

A dollar is a lot of money.

Going to sleep with your whole body aching is the best sleep there is.

A shower is a luxury, not a right. Neither is a meal.

If a man is too friendly, be wary of him. He's trying to do something you won't like.

Trust should not come easily. Neither should friendship.

A person you can trust your secrets to with complete certainty are rare and far between. You'll only meet a few of these people in your life, and you're lucky if you know it when you know them.

A hot meal is a thing to be treasured.

Begging is part of mankind and an instinct.

Once you've begged, you've lost a part of yourself forever.

The innocence that prevails until the age of four should last at least ten years.

Don't hate too thoroughly.

Love each child as if it's your own, and the only one you'll ever have. You have no idea what a gift your love is.

Being stern isn't something that evolves from a lack of love. It evolves from love. And more often than not is the biggest gift you can give a child.

They won't remember the toys you didn't get them, they will remember the promises you broke.

Don't ever make a promise you can't keep.

Once trust is betrayed you never really get it back.

This is how I lived.

I learned to sleep soundly in a car before I learned to walk. I learned to count by counting quarters for one of the games my parents had. My first job was making change, I was two years old.

I was convinced when I was little I would marry my best friend.

I knew what sex was when I was four. I still can't process that sometimes, but I never felt for a moment that anything was "wrong" with me. I still don't think in that department there's anything wrong with me.

One of my best friends when I was little was a man named Jaime. He worked for my parents and was about my age then. He loved me so much. I loved him even more. He taught me to wink, and whistle. I'll never forget how tickled he'd get when I tried, and how his eyes sparkled when he laughed. I sobbed and begged for him to stay when he left to go live with his girlfriend. I don't remember if he cried too, but I will always remember how tightly he hugged me. I was three. I still miss him. I hope he has kids now, he would be a wonderful father. I still cry when I think about him too much. Like now. And I still have the little stone heart necklace he gave me. I still wear it.

I spent most of my childhood only around adults. People were stunned at how mature I was when they met me. They couldn't understand how I could be so well spoken, polite, and quiet. It's simply because I was never around other kids. I never learned to act like them. I learned to act like an adult. My mother never baby talked me, she always talked to me, from the moment I was born like I was perfectly capable of understanding her.

Being covered in dirt and sweat and having my muscles ache is a natural thing to me. It's my best state. It's my best feeling. I've loved feeling like I've worked, and worked hard, ever since I was born.

I knew what 90% of all drugs were by the time I was six. Yet I've never tried or had the desire to try anything.

I've never had a beer or even a wine cooler. I refuse to drink anything that a small child can't legally buy.

Seeing so much addiction growing up, I'm terrified to become addicted to anything. Knowing my father has had numerous addictions, and little self control, scares me more.

I only met my biological grandfather once. I was nine. I never spoke to him again. Last year I found out he had died in 2001, in June. I'm betting cancer. He'd already had one lung removed and had cancer in his throat and lip from smoking.

The smell of cigarette smoke and gas makes me happy. It reminds me of when I was little, being outside watching the guys work. Cigarette in their mouth, directing the trucks, hauling off pieces to put game tents together, getting prize displays set up, putting the rides up.

The smell of a man sweating isn't disgusting to me. I grew up being hugged and teased by sweaty ride jocks that loved teasing Norm's little blonde baby girl. They'd tweak my braids, or make faces at me. I never felt unsafe around them. Many many times over my life, those men, protected me from marks who hurt and harassed me. I remember one time, when I was twelve, a drunk mark started to harass me. I was running a game, machine guns. The guy was scaring me, badly. I was trying to laugh and just get the guy to go away, and then he grabbed my arm. Before I could even react, a man that worked for my parents, Doug, had jumped in between us and shoved the guy off of me. Those men protected me.

The kids, they were the best part. Always smiling, always giggling. I loved helping them throw darts in a poster game, and roll balls in the skee ball. Helping them learn to hold rings for the ring toss, or letting them swap ducks a few times to get a better prize. All the lost kids I held in my lap until mom or dad found them. All the cut knees I mended and bruises I kissed. All the kisses I got just for being nice. The one thing I can say that that life taught me that is undeniably good, is that children are the purest thing in this world. They will love just to love, and hug just to hug. They'll smother you in kisses even if you're a perfect stranger, and never judge you if your clothes are dirty, or you haven't gotten to have an honest to god shower in a couple of days. They are beautiful.

I guess to people that never lived the life, never have known what it's like to live in a 40 foot trailer and sometimes, for weeks on end, have no power, no water, they can't possibly imagine. No one can know how hard and miserable that life can be, or how much you can love it, and miss it.

The thing about being with Will is that he shares as much of my experiences as I can stand. And while I do wish sometimes that he understood what I was talking about, the entire life, I'm glad he can't. I'm glad he never lived it. Because as long as I'm with someone that didn't live it, that can't miss it, I can't go back to it. The saying is, "They always come back." And as long as I'm with him, with someone that can't crave it or miss it or want it back, I can't go back. I won't go back.

I can't say that I came out of it unscathed. That I'm some glass vase without a single crack. I've got cracks, and chips, and in a few places I'm shattered beyond recognition. But I still miss it sometimes. I still miss the life. I miss the business. I haven't put it behind me yet. I still cry sometimes because I miss how things were.

Someday though, I'll put it behind me. I'll put all of it in a box, and lock it up tight. And then one day I'll be able to tell my grandkids, maybe even my children if I'm lucky, "But that was a long time ago. That's my old life, it's not my life anymore."

But for now, it is still. For now I still have days where I wake up feeling like I'm rocking back and forth because of the years I spent sleeping in a trailer. For now I still cry when I think about having a hoarse voice because I spent hour after hour pitching to marks. For now I still miss it.


Blogger erarein63 said...

Awww this is an awesome and inspiring entry. You really should publish! You have such insight that most people will never realize and it should be shared. De ;)

18/4/08 7:16 PM  

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