What can YOU say in six sentences?
1991: The first is an ex-boyfriend thirteen years my senior who kept a photo album of conquest polaroids, who once attended a sexual/spiritual retreat employing bizarre rituals supposedly practiced by the Chiloquin Kenosha Indians, rituals which involved lying naked on the floor and chanting in a candlelit room scented with patchouli and sweat, arms and legs splayed like wings.
1981: There was my stepfather's nephew, Aiden, frantically flown here from Miami on a red-eye, his auburn hair dyed black to hide from cocaine dealers, his lilliputian girlfriend a pale stripper who advised my then teenaged self to stiffen my legs and bend completely from the waist, to pretend to pick something up as "the best way to attract men."
2003: For "marriage preparation" my husband and I were assigned to an established Catholic couple, Dave and Joanne Burnhardt, every Friday night for eight weeks where we prayed and discussed things like sacrements, parenting and managing bank accounts, but in our last session the couple wore revealing clothing, offered us wine and recommended specific pornographic titles.
1992: The same ex with the polaroids invited a psychiatrist college buddy -- Simon -- to spend a week with us, a diminutive graying forty-something with asymmetrical nostrils who insisted he could diagnosis schizophrenia in a flat five minutes, who believed mental illness can rub off, who had temper tantrums when breakfast was late and practiced Zen Buddhism to mangage his short anger fuse; he wore red Speedo swim briefs around the house during this visit while on an extended leave of absence from a Wisconsin psychiatric hospital.
1982: The attorneys I worked for after school were Deena Sneed and Linda Lynn Tudley, a chubby straw blond woman with small laughing eyes and a jittery brunette with severe myopia, dandruff and chicken legs, respectively; both were single moms who ignored the unopened mail piled high on tables in favor of a mini-fridge full of Miller Lite which they emptied daily.
1974: Claudia Shackleford was our fourth grade teacher at Joy Baptist, a flat-chested stern spinster with greasy brown hair cut in a pixie; she never smiled, often thumped us hard on the head, and during reading circle while our heads were bowed (except mine) she would root around her nose with a pinkie finger then slowly, almost lovingly, slide it into her mouth.