(Me, Alone in the Tub, As My Whole Family Watches, 198-something)
I can't remember a lot of my childhood, and things before twelve seem vague and far away. Only bits and pieces come to me, like a desert with only a few trees large enough to make a mark on the land when viewing from bird's eye. Usually photographs this old allude me, seeing a smaller and younger version of myself, somewhere I don't remember with smaller and younger versions of my siblings, and younger and dated versions of my folks. Not with this photograph, at first I was really confused when I saw the reflection in the mirror, my entire family, my sisters laughing their heads off. My father is wearing some funky shorts with that nineteen-eighty's splashed paint effect, a flash illuminating from his head like the poster for John Carpenter's The Thing. My mother who is the family documentarian is off on the sidelines, coaching my father in composition, she was able to convey him well enough the photograph is perfectly composed. The question of why I was abandoned, why is there this separation between me and my family, why am I alone, left there, in cooling water, being laughed at. The adult in me sees something that hasn't changed; I always felt that way, alone, in cooling waters, naked and alone, with an expression on my face between confused and contemplative, a face I still make that confuses people as they remark, "What's with that strange look you gave me just now." Perhaps that is the reason why I remember it so well, that it was the moment I realized I will never escape this, this loneliness, I am bosum-buddied with it in a three-way with fate. My whole family lies ahead of me, but they aren't there, in the same room as me, no they are in a parallel world, separate from where I am. I am in Phaedrus' glass sarcophagus, seeing my family from behind glass, being able to see their faces, as they look on to me, I try to talk to them, to tell them how I feel but they can't hear me, the glass separates our realities, they can only look at me, see in my face that I am frightened, not ready for this life, that I am too young, too inexperienced for my heart to break, to be mended, broken, and to be alone. All goes dark, I am sitting alone, the water has cooled so much that it makes me shiver, the water feels like blood, but not mine, it is someone else's blood, I start feeling faint, the air is thick and sticky like a swamp. Soooo cold. Soooo alone. (as white mist appears from my breath)
Now I remember what was going on in that photograph, I remember I once pooped in the jacuzzi (my father had turned our standard tub into a jacuzzi with jets), and that my poop just orbited my entire family, around and around pushed along by the jets. I remembered how we all took baths together, and I was allowed two toys to play with. At some point my family jumped out of the tub without me, they all looked at me and laughed, I was so cute, I just pooped the tub and I was cute, who couldn't love that.