The Backseat

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Legs curled up under my six year old body, I stared complacently at the blackness which resided out the backseat window of my mom's 1987 Honda Civic. Although it was foggy and was pitch black outside, I saw everything. It was ingrained into my mind. I saw the designes in the brick wall to my right, and I knew when to prepare myself for a big bump in the road. I was free in my thoughts. I was a quiet child, much unlike my sister who was- as always- seated in the front next to my mother. I gazed at her uneasily with envy. She was older, not wiser, or stronger, not even smarter. Just bigger and older. I learned to love the backseat. Traces of loneliness resided in the silence. But I wasn't bothered. I didn't know I was lonely because I had always been alone.

The backseat was where I grew up. I traveled fifty minutes from Monterey to San Jose three times a day, everyday until I had to go to school, in which case I still made the commute on the weekends. You see my mom is a single mom, and her job required her to be ready to go to San Jose at any time of day or night. I recall countless times which I was lugged out of bed at indecent hours of the night. I would grab my king sized blanket- which only left my side in social situations- and stumble to the car. My mom would yell at me for not wearing shoes, but I was wearing footsie pajamas which I felt were suitable footwear for three AM. Once on the road, I would try to sleep, but the one-oh-one is much too turbulent and unforgiving for such activities. I would consider talking to my mom, but my sister was fast asleep- something I found amazing- and it was unwise to disturb her slumber. So I just cast my eyes out the window in thought for an hour.

I thought about my father and his lack of presence. I thought about how the twins in my first grade class, Noah and Jared, dropped their trousers and asked me to drop mine, and what a weird thing it was to do. I thought about how much I hated my sister, and how much easier life might be if she just dissapeared. I thought about dissapearing myself. I thought about where I might go, what I might do. Every once in a while I caught myself thinking about dying.

I loved the backseat. The cold, the loneliness, the silence, the ache. It felt alive. It lived, it breathed, it had depth. It learned the secrets of a happy-go-lucky child who had something to hide. It wasn't very comforting, but it was a good listener.





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