Sometime around September 2000, my little family landed in what I remember as my first "house, it was on on Queens Ave and Quadra Street. It was this run-down wooden house that my mother, bordering on her mid-twenties then, had lived in when she was young. It was two floors, mine and Evan's bedrooms were upstairs, mine on the left of the staircase and his on the right, separated by a play area/ storage space. I remember the first time we ever walked into that house. Evan and I went rushing upstairs to brawl for rooms and Evan happened to step on both a staple and a nail. And in the end, I chose the room that used to be my mothers.
Though our nesting there was brief, Christmas 2001 was the most eventful. We had two holiday traditions when we were young; opening a present of pajamas on Christmas Eve and advent calendars. Every year our mom got us one and every morning counting down to New Years we'd eat a thin, hastily stamped milk chocolate square. One morning I woke up earlier than everyone, so I went downstairs to kill time and watch television. When I got into the living room I saw my calendar and decided I was going to eat my chocolate. Then I decided to eat Evans, too. And that's when I lost all inhibitions; I actually ended up eating all of my advent chocolates; followed by all of Evans! Before I knew it both calendars were empty and I panicked. I closed up all the little windows and scurried upstairs. When our mom finally woke up and called us downstairs for breakfast and chocolates, shit hit the fan. Evan and I opened our little cardboard doors and I acted all surprised when my chocolate wasn't there, but seeing as that sometimes happens Evan and I opened our next doors. After a few more empty chocolate slots, our mom caught on to the farce she demanded to know which of us was it. Seeing as Evan and I were the King and Queen of "dunno", "wasn't me", we both got sent to our rooms. You know, to be fair. Evan had been screaming and crying that it wasn't him (because for once, it wasn't) and I was vehemently denying having done it. Evan was always more of a trouble maker, so I felt safe that I wasn't prime suspect.
My mother was an artist, I've spent my life admiring her work, especially the stuff she didn't think was any good. My favorite picture was of a woman, painted on a canvas. She had her back to the spectator and her hair and dress were being blown to the left by a strong wind. There was a bowler hat in the distance that had obviously been blown off, sitting in a smear the color of dried blood. There were autumn trees in the background. And a silhouette. It was lovely, and sad, and I'll remember it forever. My second favorite piece had to be this Barbie Castle she painted on my bedroom wall in that house. It was the one from the very end of Barbie in the Nutcracker. It was my favorite movie at the time. She had the whole castle painted on the wall beside my window, across from my bed. She had left a can of red paint and a roller in a tray on the floor in my room the night before and told me not to touch it, but I loved finger painting and, in hindsight, she has to know I was going to touch it anyway. Telling a child not to do something always begets them doing it. So in our rooms because we were in trouble, and bored, impulse won out and I went and put my finger in the paint. I drew little swirls on my hand in paint but eventually I stuck my hand in the paint. I heard someone coming up the stairs and tried to hide my hands behind my back, but when my mom stormed in the room and I was covered in paint tension of the day got to me. My little almost six year old self puddled to the floor in tears when she saw me standing there and demanded to see my hands. She scolded me as I cried for not listening and lying. Bested at my own game by my guilty conscience, I confessed. Puffy eyed, snotty and covered in red paint I sobbed up to her "and I ate the chocolates, too!". I wish you could have seen the look on her face.
- Memoirs of a Spotty Mind