If God is beckoning from my memories, I decide to take a moment to look for Him there. My past is a series of images, a pile of disjointed scraps, not one obviously embossed with the divine. If I piece them together like some enormous quilt will they add up to the face of God?

What kind of memories am I searing for? Good ones? Like the time my voraciously health-conscious mom agreed to drive through McDonald’s? We pulled over and ate together in the car, the taste of salty grease melting on my tongue like pure joy.

But happy memories can be so faint. I have to work to conjure an afternoon spent with a friend. The hours day dreaming alone in my room are indistinguishable from one another now. The memories I can close my eyes and still feel like yesterday are often painful ones. Like the time my mother said I had a phone call. I was only five; I’d never had my own phone call. The one phone in our house sat on a desk in my parent’s bedroom, a small but vital monument to the grown-up realm. Its outstretched arm welcomed me. I can still smell the earthy musk of the receiver. I recall the tight curls in the cord and the small panel of square buttons like the chest of some futuristic robot toy. Inside was my father’s voice.

He said he wasn’t coming home, my parents’ were separating. I remember hanging up and how the little plastic nubs went down as I laid the receiver in its holder. Years of reflecting would teach me to filter that memory through sadness and anger. But, honestly, at that moment I only felt a deep satisfaction at having been invited into the adult world.

~ Corinna Nicolaou

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