Wednesday, August 04, 2004


It’s evening already, almost seven, and the sun drags the blue with it, plummeting. While he drives he keeps a keen eye for deer on the roads or waiting in the cornrows but there aren’t any, and he pulls safely into Brenda's driveway, puts the minivan in park and looks up, sees the small ranch house with the grey cellar doors and the pink boulder in the lawn. This strange, plain house that he grew up in and keeps returning to every Sunday. Well, actually, not the same house. The original burned to the ground when he was twelve and his father, a man undeterred, saw no reason not to build another house, an exact replica, on the same foundation. It is still the same shade of dirty white but since the house has not been painted in many years, it does not look like the one he knew and was raised in. When the sun is bright the house is more recognizable but still, it is like visiting a place he has only ever seen on television. Usually he comes on cloudy days because he does not have the heart to face his boyhood home in the sunlight of summer or dusk. When it is grey and the light is spread evenly through the clouds, the house looks like all the other houses on this strip of country road – hastily erected and lacking imagination, full of familiarity and Bibles. Unfortunately, it’s been one of those Julys where the weather stays beautiful for weeks and the house, gleaming, is like a huge sparrow’s house. He imagines that inside is full of twigs and trinkets found scattered in the lawn. These bright days are the ones to be avoided, but he has no choice; he hasn’t visited Brenda in weeks and this morning she called twice wondering where he's been. He pulls the key from the ignition and starts for the house, trudging. His shoulders slope as though carrying a large bundle. Once at the door, he knocks, and waits. He hears Brenda shuffling through the house and immediately feels a sinking in his chest. This is my sister, but I am not like her, I can choose to be different; this is my sister, she is more like me than anyone that has ever lived.

No comments: