Thursday, June 9, 2011

Abandonment and Apple People

When I was seven, my family took a trip to visit my grandparents. I was an odd kid and I would spend hours in the back yard pretending it was a jungle or a dark forest full of trolls, warlocks, and ewoks. I mixed scifi and fantasy even then.

In the darkest back corner of the yard stood an old crab apple tree. The green fruit fell everywhere, but were too green and bitter to use for anything. I found a use for those poor neglected fruit. I put faces on them and made them my friends.

I gave them arms and legs, hair, and then got even more elaborate.

I soon discovered that after I punctured the skin and they baked in the summer heat interesting things happened.

They shriveled up and I liked the character it added. Soon I had whole families of crab apple people. The fresh ones were young and the shriveled ones were grandparent or grisly pirates. They argued, went to war, fell in love, had children, forgot birthdays and anniversaries...just like you would expect crab apple people to behave.

Sometime in the midst of playing, I realized I couldn't hear anyone. I checked the back door, locked. Front door, locked. Sliding glass door to the basement, locked.

My grandparents lived in Ogden. There was some festival in Salt Lake that my parents wanted to go see. They gathered the brood together and then someone thought to ask what everyone was thinking...cause I'm awesome.

One of my siblings chimed in with a very well informed answer after not bothering to check in the least.

I was not. Thank you, unknown sibling. Karma will find you.

I checked all the door several times. I was hungry and thirsty. I wanted in. Most seven-year-olds might have just curled up in a corner and cried. I never was most children. An image flashed into my brain. My salvation. I remembered seeing a window cracked, a can stuck in to hold it open, my salvation.

Of course, this window was to the second floor bathroom. Someone had stuck it in there to help air it out. Why? Well...when four adults and six or seven kids all use one know what I mean.

Now, how to get to the second floor? The old clothesline, of course.

Yep. I shimmied up that pole, ducked through wire, pulled my skinny frame up the T, and scalded the crap out of my hands on the hot tin edge of the roof. I slipped and fell, catching myself on the wires, and climbed back up. Bravely I licked my hands and tried again, pushing past the pain. Moments later I stood on the roof, triumphant.

I made my way to the window.

Now, the tricky part. The reason a can sat on the ledge was this window did not like to stay open. I pushed the can through and heard it fall with a loud thud to the tub below. Then I had to catch the window before it closed completely.

I lifted with those little stick arms that genetics gifted me, muscles strained and rippling like hot summer air. I managed to make a hole large enough to squeeze into, but once I no longer lifted on the window it slammed closed...or as closed as it could get with my chest in the way. I wriggled my way further into the room, dangling above the tub.

Finally I worked myself most of the way in, but my feet got caught.

Safe at last. I made myself a sandwich, got a glass of water, and waited for my family to realize their mistake. They did not until they arrived. My mom called the house, not really expecting me to answer.. I did and recounted my tale of woe.

I never made it to that festival...but neither did my siblings. Karma much? I think so.


Candice said...

Nice going! Remembering that window is a mark of a good mind! Or something like that...

I was never left anywhere, but I did get locked out of my house once when I was really little. I still remember the whole traumatizing experience...Aahhhh...memories! :)

dbs said...

This reminds me so much of my own youth (it's like we're the same person sometimes).

Brent Wescott said...

I was left in the mountains after a scout sledding trip. No one thought to ask where I was on the way home. I'm lamer than you.

Beautiful apple people, too.

Matthew MacNish said...

What a crazy story, Charlie, but you tell (and draw) it very well.

Chanel said...

I stayed home sick once and my mother forgot and left me...

I was terrified. The world is a scary place when you've got a high fever, are throwing up, and have no one to take care of you.

Good of you to think of the window. Next time that happens you should find an appropriately large stick to hold the window open higher than the can. This should prevent the window from trying to saw you into pieces.

Mark said...

Mom came home and got you ... we stayed at the festival and eat yummy things.


Michelle said...

Yes I remember playing in a fountain while we were waiting for you.

Michael Offutt said...

I played in the dirt as a kid. These apple people sound much more interesting.

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