The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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The memory I’m recounting here is one that seems to stick out greatly in her mind. The creek behind her childhood home was always off-limits. As a family with 3 siblings similar in age, they always tried to get away with anything they could, knowing they would get in trouble if they were caught. This story is about my mother’s apprehension about going to the creek on a day during the summer when she was younger, somewhere she knew very well was off limits.

Jay and Kim’s sneakers splashed through puddles in the yard as they ran down the hill towards the seemingly endless tree line behind the house, Lisa cautiously trailing behind. On days when the rain stopped it had become a pastime to sneak back to the creek while the water was still roaring down and watch leaves and twigs vanish as they hit the water. The creek was far too deep for children to be playing around it, and their mother always told them not go go anywhere near it.

            “Come on Lis, what’s taking so long!”

            “Yeah what are you, some kinda baby?”

            Lisa was trailing behind as her older brother and younger sister ran ahead. “It’s gonna be really rough guys…” she muttered, and reluctantly scurried into the dense tree line.

            The water roared as it rushed past the mud and rocks in the bed of the creek. Lisa stopped in her tracks, glaring as Jay went ahead and jumped in feet first. Kim courageously followed, while Lisa kept her feet firmly planted on the banks.

            As she slid her feet over the wet grass the sun started to set through the trees. She realized what that meant: her parents would be getting home from work, and it wouldn’t take much time for them to figure out where they had been.

            “Guys, we need to go. They’re going to be back soon.”

Jay and Kim blissfully ignored her warning, and continued to enjoy the cool water flowing around them. After several more minutes, the sharp sound of a screen door slamming came from beyond the trees. Lisa’s head shot up, and a feeling of dread began to set in. They were home.

Lisa was well on her way towards the house, completely disregarding anything other than herself. I told them over and over, but they didn’t – no that’s no good. She flung open the back door, racing up the stairs quicker than she could come up with an excuse. Her heart was pounding as Jay and Kim bounded into the room, giggling nervously. Lisa could just barely make out her mother’s footsteps inching closer and closer to the stairs over her heartbeat, all the while worrying about the possible punishment awaiting them.

“Where the hell were you three? You better not have been in the damn woods with all this rain…” As her mother droned on from downstairs, Lisa’s heart was racing. The smell of dinner slowly crept up the stairs, and the call to eat came with it. She knew they had gotten away with it.

By The Creek

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Late 1960's/Early 1970's
Pequannock, NJ

The memory I’m recounting here is one that seems to stick out greatly in her mind. The creek behind her childhood home was always off-limits. As a family with 3 siblings similar in age, they always tried to get away with anything they could, knowing they would get in trouble if they were caught. This story is about my mother’s apprehension about going to the creek on a day during the summer when she was younger, somewhere she knew very well was off limits.

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Alec Freund on June 6, 2018
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