The world was softer then. We ran away screaming from beehives and then ran giggling toward them. We broke rocks open with our father’s hammers and struck gold. We picked flowers and ripped them apart, or brought them home to our mothers. We won goldfish from the Italian feast every summer; they would die within days, our grief would fade within hours.

We dreamed our futures to be enormous and full.

Someday I will write a book, I told my mother, and she believed it. I wrote stories and read them out loud to the tape recorder; my brother’s sometimes came into the room and I had to start again. I kept journals at ten and never grew out of it. I was attracted to the sound of words, the crinkle of plastic covers on books, the way the elementary school librarians would lick their fingers and turn the page.

Author, Mom. These were the answers to the questions I remember constantly having to answer: What do you want to be when you grow up? Who do you love?

The answers remain the same, despite the wavering existence of both.

Cynthia Schemmer