Things I know

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THINGS I KNOW are things I’ve been told or things I pieced together and repeated out loud enough times that I can no longer discern fact from imagination.  

My parents met and married in Hawaii. She wore a baby yellow shift dress, though, I didn’t see it until three decades later so maybe it was just yellowed. Did the sleeves bell? Did the hem curve?

They were in the Air Force together in 1965. I have a photo of the surf on my window sill — I say it’s the view from their apartment, but fuck if I know that’s true. In the photo albums from that time in their lives there is a console television, a tapestry on the wall that says “Smoke” in curled letters, a white plastic Christmas tree, my mother sitting at a card table with her knees tucked in to her chest, laughing.

The quintessential photo of my mother is of her in her Air Force uniform with white blonde hair in a French twist. Her small frame leaning slightly over a home-made cake that says “Aloha.”

I know that my father described my mother as “naive” and that when he asked her why she dated him she said “I thought you were rich.” Is that what made it so?

When my father took acid for the first time he was sitting by a pool and said to his friend: “Man, the orange in these lights is so…orange.”

I know my oldest brother was born in Oklahoma, but I don’t know why they were there. Or maybe it was Montana.

I know my father got mad at the television and shot it 13 times. But it could have been seven. Or 17.

Richmond, VA.