Memories Left Behind

“The Night Light That Could’ve Destroyed the World”

I used to be scared of the dark. Terrified of the shadows and what could be lurking where I couldn’t see. I couldn’t even go downstairs by myself at night, asking my brother to come with me but of course he always said no. We shared a room for many years when my younger brother was born. Two beds side by side with a night stand separating us. I always turned on the night light whenever we’d go to sleep to his disgust. He thought he was too old for night lights but I never let him get rid of it. 

One night, we went to bed like every typical day. Brushing our teeth together and getting into our beds before our mom came to tuck us in. She came in and gave me a hug, turning on the night light while putting down some water. Of course, my brother was too old to be tucked in so refused her kisses and told her to leave. After she left, I told him goodnight and immediately fell asleep after no response. In the middle of the night, I was woken up by my brother who was lying on his side facing me. 

I asked him what he wanted and he said, “You know you’re gonna destroy the world, right?”

Being the dumb child I was, I believed him asking why.

“This nightlight that you leave on all night is constantly wasting electricity, you’re gonna make the world run out just because you’re scared of the dark.”

I was terrified. What if other people found out I caused the end of the world because of my fear. He turned it off and I didn’t say a word for the rest of the night. I didn’t sleep that night, how could I? What if there was a creepy monster in the corner or in the closet? Ever since that day I never turned the night light on again.

“Children Do Sleep”

After school, the first thing I usually do is shower because I don’t like feeling sticky and sweaty at home. Everyday, I walk in the door, go straight up the stairs, pick out some clothes and head straight to the bathroom. My younger brother stays in the loft because it’s closer to my parents’ room and he wants to be able to see them at night. Normally I’d walk by and say hi or give him a hug and ask how his day was. But this time, he happened to be asleep. As I was walking by, I guess my fat footsteps woke him up because he immediately jolted up and started watching his iPad again like nothing happened. I told him good morning and kept walking to the bathroom. Out of nowhere, he asked me why I said that. Confusedly I told him it’s because he just woke up and was sleeping. He told me I was wrong, he said he doesn’t fall asleep and just closes his eyes for a little bit. 

I said, “Uh, no. You were definitely snoring, little boy.” 

“No I was not, I was just breathing loudly.”

Sick of his nonsense, I just walked right into the bathroom, closing the door behind me and forgot about it. A few days later, I was doing my normal routine, walking up the stairs and picking out my clothes. Once again, I found him sleeping, snoring like a pig. Remembering what he said a few days before, I decided that instead of showering, I would videotape him sleeping to prove I was right and he was wrong. I sat there for the next half hour, pointing my camera at him until he woke up. When he got up, he asked me what I was doing. I told him that I caught him with his pants down. 

I showed him the tape and he didn’t respond. I felt great. Nothing like claiming victory over a second grader, and he was my brother. I was so happy in the shower right after, I was proud of what I did. Then after a little bit I realized what I did. I sat there recording a child sleeping for half an hour to prove to him that he does in fact sleep. I wasn’t as happy about it after but it was still worth it.

“Christmas Miracle”

Personally, my favorite time of the year is usually Christmas. The festive mood, putting up lights, getting a break from school, it’s the best. You get to relax and spend time with family without having to worry about homework. Of course, presents are a nice plus but you’re not supposed to say how much you care about them. 

One year, back when I was in elementary school, I was the most excited I had ever been for Christmas. I don’t know why but I was running around putting up terrible lights and ready to open presents. Usually my parents like to get either a bunch of smaller presents or one large one. That year, I saw underneath the tree three huge boxes for each of my siblings. I was pumped, jumping up and down all day on Christmas Eve. 

When it came time to open presents, we decided to save the big ones for last. The other presents were great of course but I was anticipating the big one. Finally, it came time to open it up. We all ran to get ours and immediately started ripping them apart. But when I began, I realized that something was off, the box was way too light, almost felt empty. I was still hopeful though, maybe I was just very strong. I was wrong, saddest thing ever, we all opened them and found all the giant boxes empty with nothing but a banana. We sat there silently with our parents recording us. I picked up my banana and gave them a hug saying a quiet thank you. I was devastated but I couldn’t show it. 

Christmas isn’t supposed to be about presents. Me and my siblings started sadly cleaning up like always and checking out the gifts. But we were still sad, that was the biggest Christmas disappointment ever. After a while, my dad started laughing because of how sad we were. He gathered us in and gave us a big hug. He told us to follow him. We walked into the garage and to the corner where there was a big tarp covering something. He removed it, revealing three scooters that we asked for sometime during the year. I started crying, I usually wouldn’t have but after that rollercoaster, I ran to him and kept saying thank you. Then we opened up the garage and scootered down the street and back for the next hour. 

“Road Trip Accident”

I was never particularly fond of car rides. Driving for too long was always terrible for me and I hated it. I even enjoy plane rides more than car rides despite having more space in our minivan. I also refuse to use public restrooms which is often a problem during road trips. 

Sometime in elementary school, my parents decided that our family would drive up to Sacramento to see my uncle. I wasn’t too excited for the trip, there wasn’t anything fun to do where he lived and it was also an 8 hour drive. We had to wake up early in the morning to beat traffic and get there mid day. I remember my parents waking me and my siblings up at 6 to get ready to go. Everything was ready and all we had to do was brush our teeth and hop in the car. I was dead tired and quickly got ready. I hopped into my seat and immediately started drifting off.

Everyone loaded into the car and we were to take off when my mom asked, “You all ready? Anyone need to use the bathroom before we go?”

I lazily replied with a quiet “yes” and we were on our way. I slept for the next two hours of the ride and woke up to find my siblings watching Avatar. I joined them until eventually, we reached the halfway point and stopped at a gas station to stretch. We hopped out of the car and my siblings went inside to use the restroom while my parents refilled on gas. 

“Are you sure you don’t need to go too?” asked my mom.

“Yep, I’m good,” I replied.

Little did I know, I would later greatly regret this decision. After once again leaving and continuing our journey, I immediately went to sleep. But when I woke up, I discovered the sensation of needing to urinate. I drank too much water. I wanted to ask to stop but it was only half an hour after our stop. They’d be upset that I didn’t use the opportunity to use the restroom if I told them. I was determined to last the rest of the trip. I went back to sleep, thinking that it was the best way to ignore the urge. I was horrified when I woke up, realizing that it got much worse. I couldn’t sleep anymore and we were only an hour away. I tried to last, looking at the map in anticipation. Unfortunately, after only being thirty minutes away I couldn’t hold it anymore. I began to pee myself to the horror of everyone in the car, including myself. My parents began yelling and stopped the car. 

After the situation was sorted, I realized my mistake. Not going to the bathroom because of my own laziness along with not telling them about needing to pee made everything much worse. They were quite upset and I didn’t say a word for the rest of the drive, feeling ashamed.

Looking back on it, its one of the many memories of my stupidity as a child. It would’ve been so easy to avoid the incident and I wouldn’t  have gone through all that. I wish I could change what I had done in so many situations throughout my life. But instead of regretting everything that happened in the past, I find focusing on the present much more beneficial. Doing things now and improving myself so that I won’t have those same regrets of my current situation in the future.

“Body Slamming Toddler”

Having three siblings, living with my grandma, and being the middle child meant that I have always shared a room. Before moving when I was six, I lived in a smaller house with four rooms. One of those rooms was completely filled with random junk that my parents were too lazy to clean. My parents had their own room along with a crib at the foot of their bed where my baby brother slept. My grandma also took up a room which meant that me and two of my dear older siblings had to share a tiny room, barely big enough for two twin beds side by side. Me and my brother switched off being on the top and bottom of a bunkbed while my sister had her own twin right beside it. A small room with three kids, of course it was hectic sometimes. 

One night, we were hanging out, watching power rangers on the TV before bed. I was relaxing on the top bunk while the others were just silently watching below me. My mom called from the other room, telling us to get ready for bed. Before I did anything, my older brother got up and removed the ladder to get down. Being a good four feet tall, the drop seemed like a mile down. I thought I’d break my legs if I jumped off. I started whining, telling him to put it back so that I could use the bathroom. He just stared at me and laughed, going into the bathroom and locking the door. My sister who just layed there ignored my pleas for help. Eventually, he came out of the bathroom and still refused to put it back. In urgent need of going to the bathroom, I decided I had to jump from the top bunk to my sister’s bed which was higher than the bottom. I went to the opening where the ladder to get down was, and jumped right at my sister. I ended up body slamming her and she immediately burst into tears. Then she backhanded me and I started bawling my eyes out. My parents who heard the commotion ran over to see what was happening. They walked in and found me on the floor crying, my sister crying, and my fat brother laughing at us. 

Even though at the time, I was not particularly happy about what happened, I’ve become more fond of memories like these. I remember them when I’m pissed off at my siblings so that I don’t strangle them and its something I’d cherish and talk about the rest of my life.

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