“An excerpt from my memoir,” by Christopher Frugé

Sep 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Charlotte, Sam, and I took a trip in the summer of 1984 to the Rocky Mountains to mend our strained relationships. I remember it like it was yesterday plus twenty-six years. Looking back, we were just kids at the time. All I thought about were girls and my doctoral thesis. Sam was teething. None of us were in jail.

You know, it was just one of those things where we all needed to get out of Wyoming, which meant we first had to go to Wyoming. We wanted to have some fresh soil under our feet with a different police jurisdiction; kidnap a toddler to reinvigorate a childless, dying marriage; find that contradictory yet exhilarating feeling when you stand in two states at the same time. 

We hiked barefoot because we wanted to commune with the Earth and talking, even shouting into the ground didn’t work. We also couldn’t use our shoes after Charlotte tied their laces together. It was just as annoying on our trip as at our wedding. 

But my irritation, like always, was soon replaced with the joy of experiencing leaves, bugs, and birds up close as we hid in shrubs from patrol cars. Every time one passed, Charlotte would scream, “Later, Gator!” It was funny the first few times, but got old. She always beat jokes into the ground like that.

However, nothing could change the simple euphoria of being outside. Each mosquito bite was like an angel sticking its proboscis into me and sucking out my blood, except much much smaller.

Every night we’d build a fire and Charlotte would play her broken guitar, slapping the busted strings on her thighs and ululating the melodies of John Denver songs. I would use Mother Nature’s wonderful dirt to plug my ears because, as usual, she never listened to my requests for her to stop. Sam would cry for his mommy. 

And I would almost forget our troubles as we slept with only the ground underneath and only the sky above followed by the stratosphere and then the annoying mesosphere but finally the decent thermosphere. At those magical times, Sam was what I always imagined my real son would be: gaunt and hoarse from screaming. 

That was the last summer of my childhood and my marriage. I had to return to my desk job at the university, pushing papers and shoving undergraduates. It was the last summer of Sam’s childhood too because we lost him in a canyon. It’s how he would have wanted to go. 


Christopher Frugé is currently an undergraduate at Harvard University. He enjoys to read, write, and improv. He is originally from Texas and dearly loves his family, though he has a hard time expressing it.

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