Another sleepless night…web streaming KNBT to feel like I am home. I’d like to see some hill country today, find a spot down by the river, walk over a rocky terrain and pretend I just discovered a new world. I think I pretended because I missed out on the adventure of discovery in its truest sense. It makes me sad sometimes to know everything has already been discovered. So, when I am out hiking, I’ll crest a hill and imagine that I am the very first to see the land out in front of me….just like when I was a kid.
Back then, we lived near Lake Houston in a neighborhood with big yards and what I thought was a forest behind my house. I would escape after school, slip between the barbed wire and trek through my woods. I can still remember the pine needles like carpet on the ground, the rough skin on the trees and the pine cones I would pick up just to roll the spiky surface in between my hands. I’d memorize the trees so that I would be able to find my way home. Once I took a few friends out there. We picked wild berries. When we came home, everyone had poison ivy but me. Turns out I am not allergic.
It was a good place to be a tomboy. Miles of trails to the lake, ditches big enough to hunt crawdads in them after a good rain, and plenty of boys who never cared that I was a girl. It was a neighborhood that was extremely diverse. I happened to have the redneck step dad. We had a diesel VW rabbit. In the back yard we had huge ten gallon drum of airplane fuel turned on its side. That’s the gas we used in the car. He was blue collar but we had money and a big house my parents built with their own two hands. Tommy, across the street, his dad was an accountant. Jason parents where teachers and he was skidish but I protected him from the other boys. We even had the crazy neighbor who would climb out onto his second story roof, sit in a lawn chair naked and shoot a rifle into the air. Sometimes it was over our heads but we never thought much more about it than that.
The last time I lived there, I was ten. The house was finished three years by then. They divorced, my mom and him. Then my mom and I moved away. But before it was built, I used to run in the skeleton of our house pretending I was the bionic woman, a cop taking care of the bad guy, a boy, an explorer and anything else I thought was strong and good. I imagined each room was something different. I would race from the skeleton through the back yard into the woods. I was the greatest runner, smartest spy and toughest girl ever. I’ll never have that kind of imagination again. It was the first place a boy hit me; the first (and only time) I saw a house burn; the first time I met someone who was retarded, Rose, cause that’s what we called them then; the first time I drove a car; and where I first met my brother. He was born before the house was done. We all lived in the apartment above the garage that he built before he and my mom ever met.
Now I just imagine I am anywhere else but here.