Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wherever I lay my hat (Chapter 1)

I saw a picture of an old school silver airstream trailer a couple of days ago, and it started me reminiscing about the various places I've lived during my life. There have been many - some odd (like an airstream trailer, for instance) and some entirely conventional - and as I quickly flipped through them, I was struck by the stories and random associations each of them holds. Like, why does that place in Colville make me think of Whoppers candy? It occurred to me that I could write an entire book about places I've lived. Not a particularly interesting book perhaps, but a book none the less.

Or, I could just blog about it in a brand new series I call "Wherever I Lay My Hat."

The first house I remember was one of my dad's. I was three, and had been living with my mom in New York for the past year. We'd just returned to the Seattle area, and this was the first visit with my father since my parents' divorce. And so it begins...


I'm left alone in the new room. The friendly man has left. I don't know if he's coming back. The room is large, very long but not particularly wide. There are two twin beds. I'm sitting on one. The other is at the opposite end of the room under a high window. Both are dressed in patchwork quilts and capped with stark metal headboards. I've never been in a room with two beds. I've recently been introduced to "Madeline" and I think that maybe I'm in an orphanage. I look again at the high window over the other bed. It is open and the breeze is playing with the threadbare curtain. Light is streaming in and collecting in a warm puddle on the floor. I like the window. It is friendly, like the man. Is he coming back?

Someone sits on the edge of the bed. I've fallen asleep. The springs creak and I open my eyes. Hello, happy window. The woman is on the bed with me. I don't like her. I look again to the window and watch the dust dance in the light. The woman tells me she is my new mommy. She makes me sit up and look at her. She tells me again that she is my new mommy. I'm frightened of her. Where is the friendly man?

The woman demands several times that I look at her, but I prefer the window. I am crying now, scared and confused. The woman is angry. Her face is too close to mine as she tells me that she is married to my daddy. She is my new mommy.

There is the friendly man! There is my daddy! He sits on the bed between the woman and me. He wipes the tears from my cheeks and pulls me onto his lap. He wraps his arms around me and I am saved. He wonders why I'm so upset. The woman shrugs and smiles sweetly. I stare at the window, sunny and friendly at the end of the room.

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