“Get up here, now!”
I looked up the stairs. At four or five years old the climb was daunting. Knowing what was coming increased the distance between where I was and the bathroom at the top of the stairs.
As I looked up my perspective narrowed, like a tunnel effect. The length of the stairs seemed to elongate like an elastic band farther up into the distance. I put my hand on the railing and took the first step.
My memory of those stairs is of an angle greater than 45°. They were bleak, unadorned, and without carpet. They felt like stairs in an abandoned house. The stairs bored upwards, like a tunnel, into the bathroom at the top of the stairs, making it look like that was the sole purpose of the climb.
“What are you doing? Hurry up and get up here, NOW! I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap for what you said young man!”
When I reached the top of the stairs my mother was waiting for me in the bathroom. A fresh, large, white bar of soap in hand, the allegorical method for washing bad words out of young mouths. She looked angry and impatient.
“Stand here in front of me and open your mouth!”
I could see the veins on her hands gripping the soap hard as she scraped the bar back and forth across my teeth. Bits of soap caked off into my mouth while building up across my top and bottom teeth. Her other hand grabbed me by the hair on the back of my head. I could taste the soap now. The softness of the perfume released as the bar grazed my teeth. As my salivary reflex kicked in bubbles began to form in my mouth. I could feel the soap reach the top of my throat and I started to gag.
“Now spit it out and wash out your mouth. Let that be a lesson to you. I don’t EVER want to hear you say that word again. Do you understand me?”
I bubbled a whimpering, “Yes”, as I leaned over the toiled and spit out as much of the soap as I could. I rinsed and rinsed my mouth with water, but I can still taste that soap, every time I smell it, even today.
The Flex Your Mind Project
Mark Whitehand invited me to play and take part in “The 30 Things About Me Experiment.”