Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prompt: Fog

Momma says I was just about two years old the first time I swam in the fog. I remember that time, because of the redwoods. We were out at Muir Woods on a picnic, and the fog rolled in while we were walking back down the path. I found a banana slug and wanted to watch it, and I cried when Momma picked me up and carried me on. She never liked the closed-in feeling of the fog.

She couldn’t carry me and the picnic basket for long, so she set me down and told me not to run off the path or out of sight. I still remember her swinging that basket against her long denim duster. I loved that coat as I was growing up, because I thought she looked like a cowgirl.

When we got to the wooden bridge near the entrance, I asked if I could run across and back. I loved the clatter my shoes made on the wooden slats. “All right honey, but just to the other side of the bridge and back. I can’t even see that far in this fog! It’s like pea soup.” She always said that.

As I ran to the top of the curve in the bridge, I swung to the side. My head just reached the lower of the two handrails, and I grabbed tight with both hands and leaned out over the edge to see under. I knew Momma would call me back as soon as she came into view. Peering out into the fog, I don’t even know what went through my mind. I just know what Momma said later, when she told Daddy.

“Lord, I almost had a heart attack on the spot! That child just let go the rail and dove into the fog like it was a swimming pool. I screamed and ran the side. And then she swam right up past me. I fell back and landed smack on my butt. I couldn’t breathe! I thought I was going crazy. She’s fallen off and broken her neck and I’m hallucinating, is what I thought. But there she was! Swimming and rolling over and over in the fog, with it swirling all around her, just like water in a pool, I tell you!”

Daddy might have thought Momma was crazy or that she and I were playing a trick on him. But in San Francisco it didn’t take long for another fog to roll around. I was asleep, and Momma came and woke me up, lifting me out of my new toddler bed so I nestled close under her chin and wrapped my arms up around her neck.

“Baby, let’s show Daddy what you did in the fog. Want to do it again?”

I nodded, still half asleep. She carried me out to the back patio and I peered into the dark. The fog was so thick, you couldn’t see past our little yard to the neighbors’ clothes line that ran long the border. I reached out one hand and grabbed at the wispy tendrils like I could touch them, draw them to me. I leaned away from Momma and stretched out with both hands, waving my arms in front of me like I was swimming.

Daddy was smoking a cigarette, and I could see the red glow expand as the fog swirled around him. He didn’t smile or say anything, just watched us. Momma carried me to the patio table and let me stand on it. She was holding one hand while I reached for the fog with the other. I wonder what a leap of faith it must have been for her to let me go. I dove up into the fog.

Dogs in house:

January word count:

No comments:

Post a Comment