Chapter Two

Now where was I?

Yes, the yellow house. It was on the edge of the town of Coarsegold. I don’t recall when I lived in the red house, but lets talk about it next.

The red house was in the middle of town. It was next to an oil or gas storage facility. The fact the tanks were above ground speaks to how long ago I lived there. Also the fact the man who watched it let me follow him around. I recall many a conversation with the man. Though I don’t recall his name. For months after moving from the house I would look for cars like his.

It wasn’t dangerous. Just something no one would allow today.

A lot of the things I did when growing up were unusual. Maybe not just now, maybe even then. But those are the things which shaped me. Talking to adults and being alone. As well as not having a strong parent. It has made me a more self-reliant person. Maybe more self-aware. Maybe more selfish. It is also harder for me to trust others.

The red house was next to the creek. On the other side lived a girl. We were good friends at the time. Now I can’t remember anything about her. We would play in the creek. There was a small walking bridge over the creek. Some pipes also crossed. But there was no bridge for cars, they had to drive through the creek.

Thinking of concurrent events I believe I was five or six. The next place I lived was when I was in the first grade.

My sister didn’t spend much time with mother and me. At the red house I spent a lot of time alone. When not playing with the neighbor girl. My first solo adventure may have been in this house.

I doubt I went far. The only memory I have is climbing the hill beyond the creek. Sure I had spent hours exploring my great aunt’s land. And the neighbors as well. But this was an adventure into new land.

Another memory from this time is bad. I stole a toy from the girl. And while I returned it. I felt bad. I didn’t live at the red house for long.

It was during this time I ate tofu the first time. Friends of ours lived on 415 and were vegetarian. They served it in pasta with marinara sauce. At the time it tasted good to me.

There were other people I knew who didn’t eat meat. Even at a young age I had an opinion. Some said they didn’t eat meat because there would be no meat in heaven. Will there be any food in heaven I wondered. Didn’t make sense to me then or now. But today I am vegetarian for my own reasons. And heaven isn’t one of them.

It is more of a misplaced memory than anything. I will share it now because it was around this time -at least the same area. Mother, me and some guy were driving around on a dirt road. Just driving out in the hills. The road was a ranch road in the hills west of town. Somehow we got stuck. Even being young I felt like I knew how to solve the problem. I also felt like the adults were ignoring me. To their loss I add. So I started walking alone down the road. I’m not sure where I was going to go. Just get away from the mess because it upset me. And how was it all resolved. I don’t know.

What I do know is I decided to let people fix their own problems. Something I have still do. Unless I am asked for help, I try not to offer.

Memories are like puzzle pieces. You try and put them together into a coherent image of your life. This piece next to this because it fits. But sometimes the pieces don’t seem to fit. This memory of driving on a country road. Writing this now I wonder when it did happen. I am sure where it happened.

There is a part of my adult self which doubts myself at five or six behaved in such a fashion. Though it is possible. Mother had few friends. There were few adult men in my life. This one may be the same one who lived on Deadwood. The mountain between Coarsegold and Oakhurst. If so, the time is accurate. Because our paths went different ways while I was still young.

All I recall about him was he lived on Deadwood and had an old truck. You see how the puzzle falls together.

There was another place we lived in the town of Coarsegold. It was a house behind the pizza restaurant. It was one of those places with sawdust on the floor. The smell comes to my memory still. Greasy food and pizza. Mother spent time in the pizza place and so did we. Even though it was a bar. I remember thinking about the aesthetic of sawdust on the floor. While I didn’t use such a big word. I knew it was a gimmick. Though I still don’t understand the point.

I have almost no memory of the house itself. And sometimes doubt ever living there. Now when is a question I don’t have enough pieces to tell you. When I was young, very young.

I guess this is chapter two. And a short chapter. I still haven’t reached a thousand words. Though I am getting close. Sitting here I am thinking of all the memories of my life. How do they fit together and how many are from this time.

When we are young I think it is easier to live in the moment. We have fewer memories of the past. Things to regret or miss. Our thoughts about the future are often our feelings about the past. If no one had even hurt us, we wouldn’t fear hurt in the future.

 

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