The Cedarville Review 2024

8 CREATIVE NONFICTION I don’t remember the doctor or resident or man in the waiting room who saw me and said, “She’ll never see out of that eye again.” God be praised, he was wrong. But you can bet my mother still resents it. In our attic, we had a crawl space. No idea what it was supposed to give access to. But before the forbidden expanse of fi berglass insulation began, there was some solid surface, hard and comforting and covered with brown paper. My parents set up a table lamp in that crawl space—it was round, blue and white, and it had dogs on it—and gave us a set of white chalk. The three of us, Theodore, I, and Eden, drew things all over those walls. For some reason, I mostly remember writing basic addition facts, neat, vertical, and correct to my fi ve- or six-year-old mind. I think the compulsion to use the chalk outweighed my lack of a subject. What would someone else have drawn? Would another have reacted differently the time somebody’s foot caught the lamp and the light fell over and out? I remember Eden’s room, directly across from my parents’, diagonal from us. She had pink walls with white wood accents and pastelstriped curtains, while Theodore and I had cream-colored walls with navy curtains and dark wood. I envied the décor, but not the having a room to herself. ~ I don’t know how to write about absence, even when it marks my life. How can I tell you what things should have been when all I know is how they were? I was two years old when my mother had a miscarriage. I have no memory of the event. They thought the baby was a girl, and they meant