Sunday, February 10, 2013
Where I come from...
I live in the city, but I'd like to go back, again to the place where I grew up. I'd like to get into my car on a weekend morning and drive the highways east, exiting onto winding two lane roads that meander through farm land and past bars with screen doors and glowing neon signs in the window. I'd like to drive through a sea of trees, so bare and so vast, it looms up around you like fingers reaching from a grave.
I will. I'm going to do this, the next weekend where it's warm enough to visit those memories.
I'll go to the trailer park where I was born. Where I stood at the bus stop at the top of a hill with the other children of night shift parents, of mothers with cracks in their knuckles.
I'll take a picture for you of the green rented house next to a mechanic's shop where I spent my childhood. I shared a bedroom with my siblings and there was a closet that led to my mother's room, like a secret passageway. I would duck under my sparse collection of short dresses, and rub my face on the fabric of my mother's church clothing, hanging on the bar behind mine. Her dresses were soft and cool and quiet. The fabric whispered close in my ear as I pushed through to the other side.
My parents' room was dark decorated in old, peeling furniture. The mirror above the dresser had chips around the rim, like mice had been chewing away the silver in flakes. I stood in front of that mirror and silently tried on my mother's jewelry. It was all cheap, most of it plastic; and all of it was unbelievably beautiful. I wasn't supposed to touch my mother's things, but I coveted them deeply. Holding her cold, dangling earrings in my palm made me feel close to her, secretly.
I'll drive past the house we bought when I was in the eighth grade, the first real home that belonged to us. My brothers still live there. When my parents separated, they turned their backs on the house. There wasn't another option. The ceiling was stained with water damage and the ancient wallpaper was peeling away in great shapes like continents on a map. They couldn't forgive one another or forget the things that happened there, but they could leave everything behind to decay. Weeds grow up around the windows. The roof needs replacing.
I'll take myself to the tiny, isolated apartment outside of town where Scout was born. This home is the hardest to imagine. We were there for such a short time, one year, and a universe was created from the collision of two tiny embers of energy. I lived a lifetime in that house. I was destroyed and reborn in that house.
Living there, I was afraid to go outside. People mined coal and cut down Christmas trees. They drove trucks with four wheel drive in the snow. I was a new mommy with tattered skirts and giant ideas. I had dreadlocks that reached the small of my back. The enormity of my life threatened to burn me up, from the inside.
I miss the far reaches though, the primordial feeling of being alone with the rustling of the trees and the footprints of wild things. I do my best, living where I do. I am lucky. There are parks and trails and patches of forest around my city. I'd like to wander far, for a day, though. I'd like to get lost where no one would stumble upon me, not ever.