Memoir Via Jayci
“My student teacher gave the best homework ever,” Jayci declares this while Caden and jay clamber over their shoulders into the backseat, tossing their bags into the trunk on top of the Cheetos I bought for the boys basketball game. As usual siblings bicker over said climb: his feet hit my face, she elbowed me In the shoulder. I sigh, loudly, my preferred method for behavior modification. I turn up the radio, which plays contemporary Christian tunes.
I smile at her in the rearview mirror, finally an assignment I can perhaps lend my expertise towards. I did just finish, after all, a 6-week course on writing memoir. We have workshopped, made friends, written critiques, avoided, and even invited several students over for dinner.
Jayci wants to write, she says, about our beach trip with our best friends last spring break. I don’t remember much, she admits. I do, her friend announces. Jayci scrawls down the notes her best friend recites in written cadence, word-for-word dictating Jayci’s story for her.
I stop her friend.
She can speak for herself, I say. I hope. Uncertain.
Don’t worry, I say. You don’t have to tell all the details. Focus on the ones you remember, the things that matter to you, will matter to your class. She lists where everyone sat in the fifteen passenger van on the 6 hour drive. I sigh again. She jots details and asks me to spell words. I remind her to look for the deeper theme. To find the meaning, the hope hidden in the excruciating detail of her days. I smile, she scrawls words. She writes her story the way i always hoped she would. With bold audacity and quiet confidence. With an understanding of how far she has come, and the distance she still has to travel.
But we will miss the sparkling adventure in the forest of the mundane. Life ebbs and flows, stretches and retracts. It throbs, a wide space between my clavicles beating with the racing cadence of a life. I want to circle up, but sense a pull to open instead.