Another thing that happened while I was gone is that I visited my little sister, Ali, in Atlanta.
Side note: It's starting to feel sort of silly to call Ali my "little" sister, considering she's 3 inches taller than me (which makes her immense for our family) and way ahead on the maturity front. In fact, the reason for my visit was to check out the new condo she bought a few months ago. She even has her own car and, to top it off a pet cat who's consistently fed and cared for. Meanwhile, the crowing achievement in the adult department of Ali's big" sister was the 2005 purchase of a never-before-used sofa and chair for her San Francisco rental apartment upon which her friends pass out.
An interesting realization that I had while in Atlanta was that accessories can be just a powerful as smells for me when it comes to the occurrence of overpowering flashbacks. Well, maybe not all accessories, but rugs specifically, and in this case, an Oriental rug. Upon walking into my sister's bedroom (see photo) and laying eyes on her "new rug" (i.e. a hand me down from mom and dad), I was shocked to find myself immediately transported to the front hallway of my childhood home, the same home my parents live in today which has since been redecorated, new rugs and all.
With my eyes locked on my sister's bedroom floor, I was suddenly age 9, throwing my L.L. Bean backpack stuffed with a Trapper Keeper and spelling workbook onto that same rug. I saw myself bounding through the front door after running home from the bus stop, just in time to catch another riveting episode of Inspector Gadget. "Hi girls!" my mom would yell from the kitchen. "Don't track mud on the rug, you two--take off your sneaks!"
Within a split second I was now 11, choreographing and performing a sure to be show stopping dance routine with my friend Amy to the song "Got My Mind Set on You" (mortifying). We spun and flipped and cart wheeled on this rug in our new matching palm tree leotards that surely screamed "painful pre-teen!" At four foot five, we knew we were hot in these outfits having moved on from our previous matching attire that featured Snoopy. What show we'd be stopping was unclear, but if one happened to come our way, we'd be sure to stop it with this head turning performance.
Next, I was 15, standing on the rug while posing for the camera in a blue taffeta dress before departing for a Homecoming Dance. I stood beside my date, a boy from down the block who had given me a black eye at my 8th grade end-of-the-year party while serving on our ping pong table (unfortunately, my eye was the same height as his back swing). Luckily, the black eye hid the 8 stitches that also resulted from the accidental battering. Apparently, the bouquet of flowers delivered to our home by his mother the following week was all it took for me forgive him and agree to be his Homecoming date the next year. In my defense, he was extremely cute and went to snowboarding camp in Oregon (which seems beyond exotic at the time) and had an outdoor hot tub at his house. What ever happened to him? Oh ya, rehab.
The memories kept coming, each one more vivid that the last. "Doesn't this rug keep you up at night?" I asked my sister. "Why would it?" she responded, casually tossing a cat toy onto it. Apparently, decorative accessories don't have the same affect on her.