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My Father's Index Finger

Malek Allari | Editor-In-Chief


I was two years old. The age of my first memory. Now it might be impossible in most cases for someone to be two years old and remember what is happening around them. However, there are sometimes cases in which we truly remember something that happened in which we were too young to understand. My mother once said that memories, no matter how vivid or early they are, hold strong meaning and emotions. It might be the emotions that hold this memory in my mind, and whenever someone asks me what the first memory that I remember is, I always answer with the same answer.

I was two years and eight months old, that is the exact age. It was when my mother was in the hospital. She gave birth to my younger brother, who grew up to be a pain in the ass; moreover, I am the one who taught him how to be a pain in the ass. I was walking in the corridor, holding my father’s rough index finger with my tiny hands. I know it was rough because his hands did not change in the last twenty years. I could hear the wheels of hospital beds creaking from one room to another. I do not know what I was feeling at the time when I was in the corridor, but all I know is that I felt safe in that damn dim hallway. I was safe because I held my father’s hand. “You hold my hand now,” my father would say whenever we wanted to leave for something to go somewhere that I did not know.

We took a left, or at least I believe it was left, and entered a room in which I could see all my mother’s family in there, except for her brothers. “You’re here,” I believe what my mom said. I know what I felt. Happiness, because it is the only thing I am aware I would be feeling towards my mother when I see her. I was two years and eight months old when I first saw the face of my brother. “This is your brother,” my mom said as my father picked me up from the ground and laid me beside her. I took one look at my brother and smiled. I know I smiled because he is my brother, as I did when my sister was born.

I would remember that fragment of a memory every time. However, it always starts in the corridor and ends with my mother’s smile. As an ending credit, as if I am watching a movie, I always see my fingers wrapped around my father’s index finger. I might not be fully aware of what happened, but when my mom asked me, “what is your earliest memory you can think of?” I always answer with the same memory and look at my mother’s puzzled look, “At least you got it right for someone so young.” Then, I would look at my father as he was reading with his index finger.

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