My story? I used to tell my friends that it was better than fiction, but that was more for the dramatic angle. Everyone appreciates a good story.

How do we know what our story is?

Memories are odd things. When I was fifteen sitting in a session eating goldfish crackers and staring at the magnets that hung heavily on the side of my therapists filing drawers an image came to me. I think it was the first time it was a memory, the first time it had re-entered my consciousness since the actual incident that etched it into the folds of my grey-matter. I found it oddly amusing how clearly it hit after such a long period of nothingness in that corner of my mind.

When I was three years old my brother drowned in a bathtub. This wasnt the memory that came to me during that session, but I think its the beginning of my story. I think that my life began at his death because I do not remember much before that, really. I remember when he died, though. When I close my eyes enough to still see light filtering through my lashes and it looks like headlights in a rainstorm I remember.

I remember the crunching sound of gravel beneath my yellow, plastic adjustable roller skates as I held the short brick wall next to our apartment and pulled myself along.

And I remember how the fire looked like a tongue flicking out of the roof while the windows glowed hot and dark with soot.

And I remember the man with the kazoo and being pulled up on stage, so embarrassed, and when I was asked where I lived I was shocked to see my parents in the back of the group shouting "39 Owl Pine!" and how I wouldnt say anything into the microphone and the clowns face looked angry and I just wanted to cry.

I remember the cockroaches that scattered when we opened the cutlery drawer, and the night we had no food in the house except ketchup and freeze-dried ice-cream but it was on a shelf too high for me to reach. I remember the night my mother went into labor with my baby brother, and how my father helped me hold him in the hospital as I sat on my mothers bed. He had a tiny blue cap on and I was impressed the hospital gave it to him.

My best friend was a midget. Her family had a clown act and she played a corn cob. I would go into their apartment to watch videos of their show. My father would get incredibly angry every time I did and I never understood why.

I remember the boy that made me be his magic genie and grant him three wishes and how my mothers best friend caught us hiding between two awning piles while he humped my leg. She told me I was a slut for taking his quarter.

I remember the trail of blood droplets when the nieghbor boy fell and broke his head and how, after seeing him with his head wrapped, I thought all turbans were wound dressings. I remember when my brother broke open his head on the coffee table after falling off of my shoulders and my mother wouldnt wake up. When we walked into the hospital with no shoes the doctors seemed distant and I felt frustrated.

And then my new best friend was black and wore a baby pink frilly&fluff dress for picture day and I thought she was beautiful.

I remember.

Walking in on my father and his friends with lines of speed as thick as my nine-year-old fingers going all the way across the table and how angry he was at me for coming into the house when I should have been outside playing.

Under The Bridge was my favorite song. My best friend was white trash, like me, and she saved up her money to buy me the single on a cassette for Christmas and I had never been so touched in my life. She was two years older than me. She taught me how to do hair wraps and ride a dirt bike. Her dad wasnt angry when we came inside and they were doing lines. They had huge mastiffs and her little brother would tell me that their peniss looked like red lipstick. She taught me that girls have a place they pee, and another hole. She made me pee on my own hand to feel where it was coming from to prove it. I learned how to draw roses that year from a female tattoo artist that I thought was a hippy and would come up to our property to get high with my father. I think I had a crush on her, she wore beaded brown leather shirts and her hair down. I remember...

I remember.

When my mother went into rehab and my father was finally clean and she sent me a letter to apologize for murdering my brother and then blaming it on me. It was one of her twelve steps, to apologize to those she had wronged, and she was giving herself a metaphorical baptism. My father locked the letter in his safe and gave it to the detectives a few years later. I remember when she ran away.

I remember the first boy I ever fell in love with going crazy and putting mix tapes of heart breaking songs in my mailbox while he was dating his new girlfriend. I remember him yelling at me across the city park and his notebook that he left on my desk in which he said I was a black witch. He thought I was inside of his head. And I was angry. And I still loved him. And sometimes I worry that I still do, but hes sick and hell never be the same.

And I remember when Mikee shot himself and blamed it on me and I could never see him again because he was rotting somewhere in a Ohio cemetery.

My story? Its convuluded and I dont know where it starts. I think it starts at my brothers death, but maybe it starts when I was born, or before that, when my mother was born. When my grandparents moved to Willits from Washington. When my mothers father died of a heroin overdose. It starts the first time I noticed someone looking at me.

This is getting confusing, I know.

I remember when my daughter was slippery and bloody on my chest screaming brand new and all I could say was "My baby, my baby"

I remember the scitzophrenic I befriended in the hospital and how I wanted to brush the back of my fingers across his forehead and erase the sickness from his mind. I remember putting some of the scars on my left arm. I remember hiding them so no one would see.

I remember Aaron noticing last week after bumping into one another at the City Park and nearly laughing when he thought they were track marks.

Where do I start? Shit piled out of the toilet when we didnt have any running water or taking baths in the pond in the middle of winter. Catching salamanders in the summer and my nose always peeling from the sun. Climbing trees?

Climbing trees.

I remember climbing trees and the way my hands would smell like crushed bark and the sour scent of sweat. I remember skinned knees and skateboards and trading Now and Laters. Mud fights until our jeans were so heavy they wouldnt stay up and being hosed down before we were allowed back into the house. I remember long dirt bike rides down main street hoping to avoid the Popo. Damn pigs. And the first time I smoked weed was next to the creek and I got a headache. I remember hiding in the girls bathroom after Candace told Mike I had a crush on him. I remember basketball games and writing poetry on my baseball glove so I had something to read between innings.. I remember my first french kiss and how he stuck his tongue so hard into my mouth I wanted to gag and Candace and her boyfriend were peeking from around a corner. I remember the night I lost my virginity to the boy I loved that went crazy, we listened to The Doors and it hurt though I didnt bleed.

I remember when my favorite dog died and my father had her body in his truck and asked if I wanted to see her before he buried her and I hid in the loft all day and cried.

This is going nowhere.

But the story continues.

And so it goes.

Where do I start?