Ihop – Chapter 2 (a memoir/anti-memoir project for the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics) of an anti-memoir.
Someone must have explained to me why I had to make the decision between mother and father, but I don’t remember that person’s face.
There was a breakfast at Ihop, like hundreds of others, but this one was my mom in the opposite booth, waiting for my dad to get there (to tell him), the phone calls planning this breakfast and the decisions made behind us, the buoyant invisibility of childhood sitting in his place while we wait.
Then I’m the ‘passenger while my mom drives to Los Angeles’ for the first of two hundred times. I remember that space between us, quiet, and the buoyancy occupying it comfortably for one of the last times, before my boundaries broke, before I lost the no-one-can-touch-me innocence, before I let people in and got hurt, before I learned how to make people hurt. I am waiting in a hotel in the summer, my mom beginning to own a restaurant, my pre-vodka stepdad waiting to explode brother and sister still in infancy and I remember rubber air and sizzling brain cells and the daughter’s painful trust hissing like buoyancy secretly leeching from its body.
I started 7th grade by drinking vodka and tearing my knee open on Halloween. I started 7th grade with a 3-way make-out session and my best friend telling me it’s healthy and desirable to have an orgasm by the time your 13. I started 7th grade being the white girl minority at this school in West Hills and having that place in between your legs begin to throb and light and pull on the rest of your body like many tight strings and all of a sudden everything becomes about how that tight spool pulls the mouth into a smile and the heart into a warm, bloody bath of love.
Lauren DeGaine is an aspiring journalist, activist and poetry/prose writer. She attends the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and was born and raised in southern California.