I sometimes go to my old notebooks. I go to the shelf, pick one at random, and start to read. Mostly, it is embarrassing. Not because of what I am reading about myself but how I wrote it. One notebook I put down after I read about how I wrote about how music ‘glided out of a speaker’. Other times I read work that I cannot believe was done by me. That encourages me. If I can do it once. I can do it again. Then I get a little sad because I wonder why I didn’t keep writing like that and I wonder what it was I did to write like that in the first place.
What I will transcribe here falls into a third category. It sounded promising to my ears when I read it and I don’t know why I didn’t finish it.
I have not ever had a home other than the house my father left me in his will. It is the same house his parents left to him. I have lived in basement apartments, rented rooms, and even one condominium. But they were never home to me. Home was where I grew up. Home was where my father raised me.
I know now that by any standard it was a generous size. Over four thousand square feet, finished basement, complete with a a self contained apartment, five bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. That part always gets me. Why is a bathroom without a tub only half a bathroom?
I had been away for almost ten years before I returned to it and I was embarrassed at my cliched reaction. Everything was so much smaller. But as I walked through the emptied rooms, it became larger. My father’s huge bedroom with the bay window, where I would sneak in and stare at the moon until I was sure my eyes had dried out. My bedroom, where I spent countless hours doing innumerable things that amounted to little in the eyes of the multitudes my father catered to. These were the faceless workmen that stayed for a week, maybe two, who my father made meals for and took money from. Of those literally hundreds of men and women, only one still remains in my memory. Her name was Electric Sarah and she rented the basement apartment for three weeks. No longer than any of the others but the only one that meant anything to my father and me.
I’m not about to say that those few words are in any way wonderful. And now that I type them my fingers remember writing more of that story but that can’t help me find the ending anywhere. It is digging up stories that start like this that get my thoughts turning in the direction of writing.