I only have a few memories from when I was young and this is one of them. My sister and I rolling in the leaves on the cold concrete in the brisk fall and red and yellow and brown, and my big purple coat and her small maroon one, and she is the Queen of Sheba and I am the Prince, and we are the rulers of lands we have never seen or known and never will, lands made mythical by Bibles we have never read and never will read, on our trashbag kingdom in Cambridge, Ohio, and we are big smiles and cool cheeks and my hair is thin and orange and angles my face, which is (and still is) very white, and you can see some of the veins. It's all soft and my eyes are clear and her head is very round, and we sometimes toss leaves at each other in little, harmless handfuls and always we laugh - not roars like the ones that come from your father's deep belly and excite hairs on your neck, like when he's the monster and you're hiding from him, beneath the big chair in the living room, breathing but hardly breathing so he can't hear and you can only hear your heart - but light clicks that are more like whispers or music box chimes, and my mom is very thin and her blonde hair is very thin; it thinned after she gave birth to us and added weight to her life. I don't know if these are true memories, or just memories of memories, because they say you often confuse your memories with the past you see in pictures or on videotape, and you say, "Oh, I remember," but you really don't, because your mind tricks you that way. And we sent this one to my father (Christmas 1990) when he was away for a year doing whatever the Army still does in Korea, but mostly he was eating noodles with locals and cooking big vats of noodles for his men - he was the platoon chef - while my mom pushed out my brother from her insides. And I have seen that tape, so I don't know if I really remember the leaves and the smiles and the red, but they are all I have.
Adonia is a senior journalism student at the University of Maryland, a reporter for American Journalism Review, a blogger, and an aspiring novelist.