Kindergarten hazy memory. We were both living on base in Germany our daddies part of the Post WWII military vigilance.
I don’t think we talked. I saw you running. You were always running. Your gold nimbus of curls bouncing on your shoulders, and flying behind you where I followed. Your wild horse energy loved to run. So run, you did.
Run, Belinda, run. See Belinda run. Chase Belinda in the sun. Run Belinda Run Jody run run run.
We ran to the edges of the school yard, my pursuit of your laughing and joyous flagrant for total disregard for girls before who could not yet be made to walk. She emboldened my own wild horse nature. That is all I remember of you, Belinda.
Daddy came home one day and had a serious talk with me. The MPs said that two little girls had climbed over a barrier. Didn’t I know there were places that nobody could go on a base? Yes, I had to nod. I’d been born at Dugway Military Depot after a fertile reunion of my parents in Kyoto had conjured me, but the Japanese and US governments did not have citizenship agreements in place so I had to be birthed on another continent. I knew when I was five, that I was in a place called Germany and would some day go home to a land of the free and home of the brave place. I’d been on two inter-continental flights there and back. Momma said we’d help win the war and the people were glad we were there.
Daddy told me the MPs yelled at us but we scampered away, “Didn’t you see the sign?” No. Shook my head. No. “It said Halten Zie” he boomed. Even then I was devious, feigned innocence, shook my head, “Oh, no, daddy, I can’t read German”.
But we two, you and I, Belinda, we knew full well what the signs meant. We knew what the sawhorses were for! There wasn’t any nook or cranny that we hadn’t run to upon or over in our single minded pursuit of free running. We never spoke. I only knew your first name. And how happy the sight of your tangle of gold curls all over your shoulders and down your back which lived in the air all around your jumping with joy and running with glee aliveness.
One glorious summer of chasing you, Belinda and feeling free. Then you were gone. I felt bad. No more running. I had the guilty feeling that the MPs had taken your family away – so contagious your great wild heart and mine – even at age five the scandalous freedom of a young female body was a cause for policing. You had been taken from me. My greatest happiness to have found you and then not even a goodbye.
When we ran, Belinda, for those few sunlit far away and long ago wild horse rampages around the army base – you and I were in our own land. You were my gatekeeper to this delicious unbounded joy of running so fast that we left all the guns and tanks behind.
Pattonville. 1958. Where are you, Belinda?