Back in the Day
I wrote this a while ago, just thinking about old things. It may or may not be any good, but I’ll put it out there anyways since I haven’t had much time for writing lately.
Do you remember that old broken tree in the front yard by the neighbor’s? Kenny said it got struck by lightening. Kenny said a lot of things.
I thought he was a bad kid, but I felt sorry for him. His real dad didn’t live with them, and his parents would yell at each other, even outside. Sometimes he went to visit his dad.
I didn’t understand why his home was different than mine, but it seemed sad to me then.
There was an evergreen too, over by the church (we lived next door to the church). It looked just like a Christmas tree.
A robin used to make her nest there every spring, the eggs were little and blue; I liked little things.
I broke one once when I picked it up; I cried and hid it in the grass.
Miss Edna lived across the street; I know you remember her. She would walk across the street to our house and bring us fruit in bags: Apples and oranges I think, and they tasted funny, maybe like the stale smoke that always clung to her.
She was nice to us and mom says she liked to watch people from her window.
Maybe she was lonely.
There were cellar doors at the back of the church next-door, dark brown and warm in the sun,
Mm… The sun… I loved the sun, when the air was cold. We’d lie on the doors and soak in the warmth. Then we’d run around the yard again, making stew out of rotten tomatoes and paint out of berries, noses yellow from buttercups.
And building houses in the pine trees. We would make things out of leaves and grass; taste the dandelion milk to see if it’s any good, fill the red wagon with honeysuckles and mulberries to eat on the swing under the big maple. It was too big for me to climb.
Then it would be winter.
It was so cold; my multi-colored tights didn’t do much then. Just sit on the bus, wait for it to get warm. I knew the seat where the heater would blow.
The cold was always worse in the morning, In the afternoons we’d wait at a church, sometimes we waited an awfully long time for the parents to come pick up their kids.
And then we’d go home, me and dad: he drove the bus back to the field beside the church. I think we both liked being quiet. It was nice, me and him.
He had a life I didn’t really understand, dad did. I think, still, I’ll never completely know. He doesn’t talk too much about his troubles. Not in details. My mom doesn’t talk about her life much either; I guess they don’t live in the past.
I think they just use what they’ve learned, though when the occasion calls for it they’ll dig up their past and I find out something new.
Something new about my parents.
When you cut into a tree you find the rings. It’s the rings that tell the story, otherwise you just don’t question it: the tree that reacts as usual to the changing seasons but comes out the same every year. It keeps standing there.