When I was young
when my brothers and I lived in the same place
when my parents were married
and when I didn’t eat chicken yet
our neighborhood would have a huge celebration in the park and we would all decorate our bikes, parade them down the street, and await the announcing of the awards while begging our parents for tickets for watermelon and cotton candy.
And then my family would watch the fireworks at night from Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. We would spread out a blanket and bring cards or toys or frisbees to occupy the time. We were allowed to eat KFC because it was a special occasion — but only on the 4th of July. I only ate the fried chicken skin, because I hadn’t added poultry to my repertoire yet. And my brothers were sometimes nice and would share theirs with me. When the ice cream trucks would ring their bells, we would beg and plead, but my dad always said, “no, you just had dinner.” Which logic eludes me even to this day.
But dads are supposed to say no. And moms are supposed to say yes. And brothers are supposed to tease their sister. And fireworks in Washington, DC are supposed to be the best. And all of that was true once upon a time. A time before children move away, parents divorce and a girl grows up and like all the other grown-up girls, shuns fried chicken skin because it’s important to be body-loathing.
But I remember.