I only have one picture of my life before coming to live with the Venatori. It was a picture my Nanny took with her old Polaroid camera. It’s yellowing, the corners are bent and the edges are a little singed from a mishap when I was only a few years older than I was in the picture.
The picture is stored at the bottom of a trunk in storage at the back of one of my first drawing journals. I don’t like to be reminded of that happy memory. I hate that my mother left me in the hands of the Venatori. This picture reminds me of a time where I was her everything.
I was about three in the picture. I don’t remember the day itself except that it did take place. But I do remember the smell. The most wonderful thing about my mother was her apple pie. It was the only thing she was truly exceptional at making – or so I remember her always saying. The soft scent of cooking apples lingering with the sweetness of cinnamon and vanilla. A perfect combination. It was comforting and I knew in those moments my mother was happy.
The photo brings back that memory – a memory where I don’t hate my mother. I try to avoid apple pie, but that’s not quite so easy to do. The soft scent of apples is a comfort to me as is the cinnamon and vanilla. I get lost in the safety of my that moment in my childhood. A place I was loved, a place where I truly belonged.