Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Workings of a Memoir

I ignored the first call, but answered the second.
          "Hey. Can I borrow 5 bucks for gas to Phoenix?" he asked mildly.
          "Sure. Where are you?" I responded.
          "At the Texaco in Prescott."
          "I'm in Prescott as well. I'll see you in a few."

He had never asked for money before. I was happy to give it to him but it was still odd that he asked.  I knew he was headed to Phoenix to get the last of his belongings from Stephs house.

I pulled up as he sat waiting against his Chevy. A Blazer, I think. Not his, but my sisters. He stood with his hands in his pockets wearing a tattered black and red flannel shirt, and a Raiders hat. And his moccasins. Always his moccasins. I approached him with a hug. He smelled like vanilla and cigarette smoke. The smell of those little tree air fresheners have always been a staple in my memories of him.

          "I'll be right back," I said as I walked to the inside of the gas station. I picked up a Gatorade for him and a diet coke for me.
          "15 on pump 4 please," I asked the clerk at the register. I handed her cash. A ten, a five, and some ones for the drinks. I don't normally have cash. But that day I did.

I walked back outside and started pumping the gas for him. He kept his head down.

          "You didn't have to do that," he said finally looking at the numbers on the pump.
          "I know. But I wanted to," I said, "Drive safe okay?"
          "I will" he replied finally looking in my eyes, "Thank you," he said quietly.

I hugged him tight and told him I loved him. He told me he loved me too. I was walking back to my car when he said,

"I promise you I'm getting my ducks in a row."

Those were the last words he spoke to me face to face before he died.

I am shaking as I write this, because I am not a writer. I don't know how to write. I don't know the correct formatting, what's "good" and what's "not good". I don't pretend to know. These are just my words. The way I thought them.  I've mentioned before that I want to write my story. I decided my blog is the best place to start. I've started in my journal as well. For some reason, this memory continues to stick in my head. So I'm writing it down as part therapy, part journaling, part letting go.

Definition of Memoir 

A memoir is a piece of autobiographical writing, usually shorter in nature than a comprehensive autobiography. The memoir, especially as it is being used in publishing today, often tries to capture certain highlights or meaningful moments in one's past, often including a contemplation of the meaning of that event at the time of the writing of the memoir. The memoir may be more emotional and concerned with capturing particular scenes, or a series of events, rather than documenting every fact of a person's life (Zuwiyya, N. 2000).

I can't drive past that gas station on the way to Phoenix without reliving this moment. It still hurts my heart. Not as much as the last voicemail he left, on the day that he died, the one I deleted midway through....

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