Impacted: A Meme

A forum I frequent started a meme today. Write as a scene a memory that informed your life. My response was a little longer than I felt appropriate for a forum, so I decided to put it here instead.

He liked watching the numbers. Elevators weren't as fun as escalators, but at least they showed you the numbers as you moved up the floors. For this reason, Joe was very frustrated that his sisters kept pushing him behind them.

"I want to see," he said for the third time. He tried to wedge his way between them, but they being twice his size simply pressed their hips together and trapped him in the rear.

"You can't. We have to keep you hidden," one of his sisters said. Joe bristled at this. Why did they need to keep him hidden? Had he done something wrong? Were they ashamed of him?


"Because you're a little kid and little kids have germs. You could get people sick, and they could die. You're not allowed to be here."

His bristling turned to outright offense. They were making that up so they could keep him from watching the numbers go up. A kid couldn't make someone die just by being there. Were they suggesting he was going to hurt someone? He wasn't going to hurt anyone. It wasn't his idea to come here. They brought him along and now they were being mean and lying to him.

"If I'm not allowed to be here then why am I here?"

"Because Dad is here."

Dad had been sick for a long time. He and Mom had been gone. She had come back, but he was here. If he was sick and little kids could kill sick people then the last thing they should be doing is bringing him here. Hadn't anyone thought of that until now? How was the three year old the smartest person in the elevator?

Joe struggled away from them, not like t here was anywhere to go. An elevator wasn't an escalator. He couldn't just walk down the stairs backward. The doors opened and someone put a hand on his back, ushering him out. This was clearly a bad idea. He willed someone--anyone--to realize what a bad idea this was, but no one said anything. He didn't say anything.

A nurse met them in the lobby and told them where to go. She bent over to talk to Joe in that voice adults use to speak to little kids because they assume they're stupid. He hated that voice. She told him that he was a lucky boy. Most children weren't allowed to come here. He just needed to make sure if he had to sneeze that he cover his mouth with both hands.

Lucky lady? My dad is sick, I'm a walking death sentence, and they're taking me right to him. How is that luck?

He didn't say anything. He just nodded and followed his sisters down the hall.