I was home. But it wasn’t home. Is this why they say you can’t go home again. Walking down the hallway it all felt smaller. Could everything have shrank? Was this the same house. Well, it was never a normal house. But it was always home.
This hallway was a play space for my sister and I. We would wedge our feet on one wall and our backs on the other. Then shimmy up to the ceiling. But my legs don’t fit across this hall. And the ceiling is so close. Hardly the peak of excitement I recall. Sometimes I would drop from the top to the floor. And it was a fall.
At the core of our home was a mobile home. A modular home is what some people call them. This is where the famous hall was located. Along the hall we would run at times. And others we would walk in shame. At the end of the hall was the bathroom. This is where we would get our punishment. It was a small bathroom, the kind you expect in a trailer. And now when I walk in I notice the sink is so low.
But growing up it was never about the house. I lived on the land. Outside the door was a world of adventure. Like when I turned the driveway into a city with small roads and little mound houses. Or the many times playing games with my sister and friends. As we got older we played at night. Sometimes we would play hide-and-seek games in the darkness. The idea you could hide in open darkness was new to us. As I got older I learned how to hide in the open light.
At the other end of the hall was a small dining room. But it felt big with the table. This is where I learned how to salt and eat plain avocado. My sister still eats it the same way. And in the kitchen there was a toaster oven. At the small kitchen table before bed sometimes we would make English muffin pizzas. We would put hot dogs and ketchup on an English muffin. Then pop it in the toaster oven. This is what home is about right?
After the regular toaster caught fire we never replaced it. Pop-tarts with icing on them had over heated.
But I also remember eating cereal for breakfast. We would take a basic grain like oatmeal. Then add yeast, and nuts and raisins and sugar and I don’t even remember what else. It was hardly oatmeal anymore. Eating was fun and comfortable for me when I was young. Things are different now.
In the kitchen sink we would get our hair washed. I’m not sure why we weren’t trusted to wash our own hair. But the burn of the soap in my eyes etched in my mind. The kitchen had a window on one side. While it used to open outside. It now opened to part of the house added later. The largest part of the house had been added years ago.
There was a large room, a living room. This is where we would gather after meals. It had large windows and lots of light. The windows weren’t glass. But large sheets of thick plastic. In later years glass was place in the frames. And along the outside wall was a long couch. From this couch you could see the yard. But you could also see the mountains far away. I would sit for hours on the couch. Hours staring at the mountains. And thinking about my life and future. It is here I knew at a young age if I didn’t get married by 24. I would never get married. And I was right.
When I looked out the window at night. I could see the lights from stars and houses. The mountains and the sky seemed the same distance. I could see the small lights on the hills far away. And I could see the larger lights of the stars. Their light from much further away. And I was the one who felt far away.
There was a wood stove in this room. It was used to heat the whole house. A giant wood pile was in the front yard. When it was covered with a tarp, small lakes would form in the low spots after the rains.
Next to the main room was a room we used to play and learn. It was where my sister and I had our desks. Mine was full of drawing from imaginary hotels. I had created my own imaginary chain of hotels. I’d look at maps and find cities. Then make a drawing of a building for the hotel in this city. I already understood you could take money from one place and use it to create more. But I still don’t know how to create the money to invest. I’m not sure how many cities my hotels he conquered. And it never occurred to me as a child to place more than one hotel in a city. Even a large city like New York City.
Our small book shelf was in this room. And it had a collection of Bible stories I wanted to read from the start to the end. But I never did. Even as a child I set goals for reading, and didn’t finish. Maybe it is better than never having a goal?
Out the back of this room was a small storage and laundry room. When I was young I remember it having an old florescent light. You had to wait for it to light up. A big freezer was in this room, where we stored extra food. Some of which was meat from cows raised and killed on the land. It was thirteen acres. Then out from this was a smaller room. It was here the yams were pooped on by the kittens. And I have never trusted yams much since.
Then outside was the trail to the barn. But there was also a shed and a couple small buildings. These were just bedrooms. When young you don’t think about home. Like a fish doesn’t think about water. But then you come back and it is all smaller. And you see things in a different way. It isn’t home anymore. Someone else is living in your home. They are creating new memories. Different from yours. It is their home now.
(I kind of hate this one, but I did spend almost an hour when I should have been sleeping writing it so I will post it.)