A for-real memory... sort of.
|She used to laugh. A lot. Well, sometimes. But when she laughed, you knew it was funny. She laughed down deep, like a man. She shook when she laughed. Once we were walking in the creek. One hot freakin’ day. We took off our shoes, which was stupid: Mom always said you didn’t know who threw what into that creek, and we could have cut ourselves on glass or stepped on a nail and got lockjaw or something, but there we were, barefoot in the creek, slipping on the rocks, sinking in the sludge.
So we’re walking, and all of a sudden, she stops. I didn’t realize it at first; I just kept plodding along. Then I look, and she’s not next to me any more. I stop; I look around. She’s standing about ten feet back, smiling, shaking her head.
What? I ask. What’s so funny?
And she starts to laugh.
What’d I do? What’d I get on me? My butt felt cold; maybe my pants were wet and it looked like I peed myself. I look down, and I’m looking around… nothing. I look at her again. She’s laughing so hard now she’s just about doubled over, and I’m starting to get pissed. What?
She points at me, down at my shin, down near the water line. I look. It’s the biggest motherfuckin’ leech I ever saw in my life sticking on my leg, this big, black, slimy – I must have screamed like a girl, and I ran out of that creek so fast I nearly fell twice.
I don’t remember what happened after that, how I got the thing off me, or what she did. I just remember that leech, and her laughing. Funny, the things you remember, isn’t it?