Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Limestone Bricks - 2014 Skyway Nominee and 2013 Prairie Voices Pick

The Limestone Bricks was selected for College of Lake County's Prairie Voices in 2013, and was nominated for non-fiction at the 2014 Skyway Collegiate Competition.

At Skyway it was knocked out by kidney failure, respiratory distress, suicide and cancer.

Shit happens.

The Limestone Bricks

      There is a moment from my past that has always fascinated me because I was the main character, responsible for my own actions, yet could not explain them.

      I was a small boy, no more than 8, if that. On our property, running along the side of our garage was a very nicely laid out limestone brick sidewalk, accented by a thick row of little white bell flowers that filled in the space between the walk and the garage.

      One day, I dug up a few of the big white bricks and left them out. My dad saw them, painstakingly replaced them and let me know in no uncertain terms that if I did it again, I was going to get a beating.

      My father was six four, two hundred and sixty five pounds and chronically angry. I was perpetually terrified of him and absolutely believed him when he said I was going to get a beating if I dug up the bricks again. I never doubted it for second.

      Some time past that day, I climbed the big horse chestnut tree in the yard. I jumped off the garage a few times pretending to be the bionic man, grabbed a trawl and dug up several bricks.

      As six o'clock approached I decided that putting the bricks back was a really good idea. Mud had slid into the empty caverns where the bricks had been, and to my horror, putting all those carefully laid, different shaped bricks, back was a lot harder than it looked.

      Feeling the hour of my doom approaching, I burst into tears. My mother, hearing them from the kitchen window, rushed out to help me put the bricks back into the walk. She barely got the last brick in as my father pulled up.

      My father stepped out of the car and knew instantly what was going on. I watched him turn beet red as I prepared to evacuate my bowels and run for the fence. There was a horrific look of disappointment on his face as he peered around my mother who had stepped in front of him to protect me.

      I saw the strain on my mother’s face, the disappointment on my fathers, and the tears on mine, and had no idea why I dug up those damn bricks. They were there. They needed digging.

      "Cam, I told you not to dig up those bricks!" "Why did you?"

      "I don't know." Sob sob, gulp, evacuate bowels, run, no, stay, or he'll get really mad. I didn't! I had no idea why I dug up the damn bricks.

      Now, I think I know. It was about the experience. My brain wanted to solve the problem of how to take out the bricks and put them back. It wanted to learn it so bad that it over rode my survival instinct to figure it out.

     Unconscious of the reasons at the time, I would dedicate the rest of my childhood to doing things that pissed off my parents and trying to figure out ways to fix it before I got caught.

      It never worked out like I'd hoped.


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