Saturday, August 06, 2005


baby fat

my mother sent this to me today. she likes to point out that doting parents have surrounded me with educational toys, and i have reached into the drooly mouth of our schnauzer, rufus, to grab the yellow plastic squeaky bulldog because i prefer it, in fact like it so much that i am seconds away from putting it in my own mouth.

i am really taken with how many little bits viewable in that picture constructed the border of a world, the only world i had: the sliding doors to the kitchen that were made out of some weird fiber, the second hand brown velour recliner (it spun all the way around. you could go fast.), the weber grill in the yard, the yard, the bushes you can see in the yard with red berries i believed were poison until i ate one to see if i would die and i didn't die, the sliver of eld inlet you can see over the poison berry bushes which is actually, i know i'm a nostalgic fart, making me cry a little bit; the baseboard heaters.

it's funny that the photo came today, because yesterday i was looking through the oldest journals i could find, from my first years in college, to see if anything qualified as hilarious enough for this. and i ran into a report of a fight my mother and i had in which was really blistering and awful in a way i don't recall unless faced with it. if people who knew my mother now were told she'd said some of this stuff they wouldn't believe it, which is probably par for the course. and i was remembering the house we lived in while i was a teenager--we moved from the house on eld inlet when i was almost thirteen, the summer before highschool, into a subdivision on the westside where all the houses were the same.

i have dreams about the old house about twice a week. i dream about the new house never. probably because i had a lot of zits and bad hair and adolescent sturm und drang at the new house, you know, nothing big, just the thousand natural shocks, and at the old house i had a bazillion books and my own woods and all the rocks and crabs on the beach, and it was perfectly natural that my dog was my best friend, and at night you could get out of bed and lie on the carpet next to the lowest windows, the ones that open out like a breadbox door, and hear the seals on the johnson's float calling out over the water.

my mom told me over the phone that our old house is almost unrecognizeable. where we lived went from being the sticks to Waterfront Property a few years after we left, and the new owners have cut down most everything and made our fallingdown house into the kind of thing my father used to call "a gin palace." she drove out there a while ago and inspected the whole scene, and she kept on about it for forty minutes: where the guest-house would be, which camellia bushes were still going, why the driveway had to be repoured, how my treehouse was still there.

i was annoyed; i wanted to talk about something else, like appliances or makeup. but now i get it, because the three of us (four, with the dog) still live there. it's where we were at our best. when i dream about that place, it feels like what i would pick as an after-life: i'm a complete person, nothing i need is out of reach, i have my dog, i have my rocky beach, there is no future, nothing is my fault. i want to go there on vacation. yes, to the seventies when we had our own well and a leaky roof and one had ever called me a bitch. i would like to go there.


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