i was six at the time. my mother-- she was a younger lady, skinnier than now with less complaints than now-- was walking me down our narrow street, i was attached to her, my head pressed and resting against her leg on our way to church for a thanksgiving service.
i was a smart round boy, dressed in an impeccably tailored outfit, shorts cuffed at my thighs, leaving my cute-swelled knees exposed. my habit of pulling my socks up as far as they could go was my only rebellious contribution to my attire, they were white and bright, wrapping my chunky legs until my light blue strapped brogue shoes began to hungrily gnaw them at the ankle.
safari suits, a sort of colonial chic uniform, were the unfortunate fashion preoccupation at the time. unfortunate because it made every person who dared to own them, even my father who was always finely put together with the meticulousness of a fashionable courtier, look utterly ridiculous; more colonized that suited. of course my mother chose to deck me in this foolishness.
i had warmed very quickly to the outfit, something which was entirely impossible to conceive a few minutes before.
i screamed and raged at the laid out suit on my bed earlier that morning. in the mind of my self-absorbed kid brain it represented my mother's oppressive and totalitarian fashion regime over my little willful life, "i want my blue jeans and white canvas shoes!!!!!!!" the ruckus, which my mother patiently ignored with a cheery monastic stoicism, fell on the nerves of my rather stern father. his face appeared in the doorway, expressing something bordering irritation and impatience. somehow his presence summoned my face and i looked up at him. the javelined glare he shot startled my whining and i paused mid screech, dropping my head in a silent, teary pout just in time for my mother's hands to reach my chin as she buttoned me up.
she rubbed her hands together in petroleum jelly with a fierce ablutionary zeal and vigorously transferred the grease to my face-- leaving my softly plump and clear face, shiny, glum and shiny. my ridiculous tears hydroplaned down my lubricated cheeks, as i sniffled in a doubly silent fury; being withered with a glance and also clad in a horrid outfit
as soon as we had stepped out of our house, my mother had been fielding compliments about my ensemble-- they seemed to be flying from everywhere and by the time we reached church, my feet were barely touching the unpaved road as i jubilantly skipped about her. my face was unglued from her and i was a radiant boy greeting my current celebrity with a serious sense of duty, demonstrated by my wild waving to everyone who even so much as looked my way. "yes, i look great!" my wave said.
in church i sat squeezed between my parents' gentle and impressive bodies, alternating my slumber between the two hemispheres, my mother's which was citrusy scented and soft and my father's, well-starched and firm. the rousing chorus of inspired congregational worship tugged at me to wake up, but i was stronger.
held between two lovely people, lucid dreaming of a time, not too long ago, when i was a super star-- thanks to my mother.