I never tell him about myself at his age, because it may open his eyes to see me, see who I am becoming. To him I must remain a mother. To my husband I must remain a woman. I keep the truth from both of them. No one in my family should guess that having lost my way, I am becoming a child.
This is the memory I withhold from them: at the end of my first day in school, I stood outside by the gate. I waited. I waited there a long time. No one came to pick me up. So I told myself that perhaps I could find the way by myself. I stepped out onto the street. It looked unfamiliar. By high noon, gone were the long tree shadows that used to point the direction back home. Hours later, after a frantic search, my father found me at the other end of town, wandering aimlessly along the Santa Monica beach.
Perhaps he expected to see an odd, bewildered look on my face. But no, I fixed my eyes at the sea melding into the sky. The only way to tell them apart was to note that it was creased, as if someone pulled a cloth across it. I took my shoes off, felt the wet sand, and listened to the yawn of the waves. I was happy.