I was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.
My blond curls were soft, and mom would twirl them around her finger to make ringlets. I looked like Shirley Temple, with round cheeks and a button nose—though my eyes were blue and my sister got the dimples. I never, though, had any desire to wear frilly dresses and mug for the adults like her. If I sang and danced, it was mostly when I was alone.
I'm looking through photographs: Little girl in a black rain slicker and hat. In red velvet and lace tights, with a kitten. Banging on a piano. Sitting in my grandfather’s lap, smelling his pipe tobacco.
I did like my pretty red velvet, but not the lace tights. I liked textures. I’d sit in the cabinet and peel the paper of the onions. I would run my hand over the rough bark of trees. When I was 3, I got a Winnie the Pooh almost as big as I was. Within a couple of hours, I’d pulled out his black nose.
Mom once made me a romper. Pretty white fabric with embroidered strawberries. I wanted to show it off, so I went out to play. When she found me, I was sitting in the BBQ pit, using the ashes to draw on the bricks. Ruined in record time, even for me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I preferred my Winnie-the-Pooh shirt and plaid pants. I was never a strawberry girl.
I look at a photo from when I was 5. My sister and I are in pale yellow Easter dresses. She has an adorable puckish grin, and I a much more restrained smile. My jaw is crooked. I remember, I felt old then. I looked older than my age, too. Maybe it’s the high ponytail, on the top of my head, or something about the look in my eyes… but I know, from the window behind me and my sister’s age, that I was 5.
Maybe I’m remembering through hindsight.