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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

somewhere along the way, we auctioned off my innocence and traded it in for a lapse in faith.

 i'm five, and i'm currently wedged between the sticky bodies of my grandpa and mom. my dad's on the other side of momma, a goofy grin stretched wide across his face as he silently watches the auctioneer, a real fast-talker who knows some awful persuasive words; ocassionally, daddy will make funny little pantomines, gaining a sharp jab from my embarrassed mother while the silly gestures elicit a giggle from me. my grandpa and mom are so much alike, impassive as they watch goods come and go from the stage, presented vanna white-style by a guy stricken with lank dressed in the greasy finery of a redneck: some t-shirt slathered in NASCAR paraphenelia and ratty jeans complete with a whole history of grass stains and rips imbedded on the familar, fading denim. 

 i fidget uncomfortably in my seat, something resembling a church pew. this auction house is far from a church, though; a layer of dust covered almost everything. the room was poorly circulated, and the sweltering heat of the mississippi summer creeps underneath the cracks of closed wooden doors. outside, cars roar by, streaming past the small shack like it's invisible. i guess only those with a real interest in antiques pay attention to such places, hidden by the glamour of wal-marts and shopping malls, new-fangled things my mother has yet to fully accept. 

 my big green eyes flash around the big room, filled with other families much resembling my own; i gobble up every grimy detail of the place, stopping at cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling, silken threads tediously strung together in intricate designs by the hands of careful spiders. a line of mean ole fire ants march by on the floor, sent off on some suicide army mission, prompting me to scrunch myself up like an accordian in order to place my feet, bare now that i'd kicked off my shoes, on the seat with myself. a whine escapes me, and i tug on pa's sleeve. he turns his eyes, hidden beneath a thick layer of bifocal glasses, on me. "what, girl?" he asks affectionately, offering me a gaping grin lined with adoration; i can see the chewing tobacco gathered at the corners of his small his voice is deep and husky, riddled with age, but comfortable and warm at the same time. 

 "grandpa, i wanna go home!" my nose wrinkles just as the auctioneer begins to spout off streams of different prices, people bidding left and right on whatever trinket happened to be up.
 "shh! we'll go home when it's time!" momma reprimanded me swiftly, latching onto my forearm roughly. i deflated, and began the cycle again. fidget, look around, complain, deflate. finally, i turn my ever-changing attention to the auctioneer, who presents to the audience a mere rag doll with a silly little thread smile and red yarn hair. she wears a pretty patchwork dress and mary jane shoes. i immediately fall in love with her and the thought plays in my mind that i could bid. why should this be a game for adults only? the auctioneer offers a beginning price, one that i'm deaf to, and my arm inexplicably shoots into the air as i hop up and down in my seat like a crazed monkey. mom snatches me up, hushes me, and angrily explains to me that i had just bidded on that item, costing the family money on a useless item.

 lips crippling into a frown and eyes gluing to the ground, i delved into my mind for the next few items. outside, the glaring sun began to dip into the sky and the streams of cars thinned a bit. "oh, i used to have a baby doll crib just like that when i was little!" lifting my eyes for a moment, i look at the crib in question and want it as well. i bid, again, despite the pep talk i'd just recieved. the auctioneer notices the struggle i have between my parents only after he raised his price and then sold the item to me. my dad raises from his seat, walks up to the stage, and briefly explains the situation. i'm embarrassed, cheeks bright red and burning; i can feel the blood pumping through the veins, barely safe beneath the skin. 

 the auctioneer smiles in my direction. "don't let your kids bid, folks!" i think that's what he says; if not, it's something to that degree. i can handle that humiliation for a bit, but when a chuckle ripples through the small crowd clustered throughout the room, that's when i sink in between the rut created by my mom's arm against her side. i bathe in my shame, and soon sleep tugs my eyelids over my eyes and offers solace and comfort.

 it's not much longer momma's shaking me to a wake, and i'm sluggishly walking out the door, filing behind a group of people. the auctioneer smiles at me as i leave, and even offers to give me the doll. i'm too shy to give him an answer, and instead sprint out that doorway as if a rattlesnake was after me, his nasty slivers of fangs revealed and dripping with his deadly venom.
 that was the first and last auction i ever went to. my parents learned that i couldn't be trusted, and i learned that they were boring affairs not worthy of my precious time. i can still imitate the babble of an auctioneer's voice, persuading and pushing others to place a higher bid on some glorified junk, and i can still smell the must of the rotting wood and hear the creaking of the floors beneath my tiny feet. i can still picture the crisp clean lines of the scene from my childish eyes, new and unbiased, still innocent and unburdened. 

 sometimes, we sell things to auctions; it's been a tradition since i was little, five and up.

  somewhere along the way, we auctioned off my innocence and traded it in for a permanent lapse in faith.


based partly on fact, partly on fiction.

Submitted: July 27, 2008

© Copyright 2022 anabiosis. All rights reserved.

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