The surrealistic feeling of this comes from a dream. I wanted to catch the setting.
|I left the old bus the three of us had been traveling in after the boys fell asleep. They settled easily and comfortably into their sleeping bags arranged on unbolted seat cushions, and were peacefully dreaming of their futures.
I wondered of their futures, as well as my own, as I walked up a brown grassy hill to get a better view of the lay of the land before the sun fully set. For the past few days I'd been driving, I knew we were lost off the old tattered map that directed our destination westward.
At the top of the hill, behind a bank of tall evergreen trees, I was overwhelmed to find a big two story house, with a manicured green yard, and a barking lap eared dog inside the patio area, well lit by one very bright porch light. The brown and white Springer Spaniel was wagging in a friendly fashion as I approached.
Looking inside a window, the inside of the house was dark, and I pulled the handle on the door. Only partially surprised that it opened, I let myself in calling "hello" to a dim and empty echo of my fearful voice. The dog greeted me as an old friend, following me inside and then settling on his plush sleeping pillow in the corner of the large living area.
Mostly curiosity caused me to enter. I didn't even have my knife in my pocket, and I meant no harm. I had no thievery in my heart, just old dreams.
I wondered at the difference in what puts one man in a relative castle, and other in a bus on the road with his boys, seeking fame and fortune from the land and its people. This man's life had been my dream at one point in time, before I accepted the reality of my situation.
You wonder how fast young people have to grow up, and what circumstances make one and break another. The broken dreams of this family were absent from view, but one couldn't believe it was true. Everyone has some kind of problems.
Inside the house, time stopped. The little girls and young men of the family had departed years before, leaving trophies and adolescent memoribilia of a well loved and family supported childhood. Such a large home seemed to capture and hold a passion for each life, and the numerous memories of growing personal achievements.
The furniture was lushly upholstered, but mainly delicate of form and function, and showed no wear from usage. A perfectly folded multi-colored crocheted afghan lay at the end of the red velvet divane. The brown leather foot stool set in perfect proportion and distance from the matching overstuffed brown leather chair, evidently the old man's throne of comfort. A single reading lamp set next to the chair, and the side table had no indication of rings from sweaty beer cans. The butterfly coasters served their purpose well.
Among the eterges, interior lit curio cabinetes, and several occasional tables were portraits of happy faces, in increasing ages, and delicate figures of porcelain, marble, and colored stones, no doubt purchased at expensive specialty stores to recall memorable expressions of love shared in this home. For what other reason would such delicates and breakables be in such easy view and reach.
The delicacy of figurines, even housed in solid cabinets made my hands tremble, just a bit. Many years had passed since I had seen such delicacy and such care in preserving it. My hands, rough from years of manual labor could not understand the comfortable and homey feelings expressed by the intricate work which made the Fabrege eggs, and other collector minuatures. The room was pristine and elegant.
Even the family photos were housed in scrolled and intricately crafted picture frames, spotless of any dust, though the house could have been empty for the owner's evening on the town, or an extended vacation abroad. I wandered to the mantle over the huge fireplace which opened into another large living area.
An oil laden portrait of a beautiful young woman dressed in a flowing velvet red dress adorned the area above the fireplace. Her presence above the whole roon gave it an air of grace and sophistication, down to the pupils of her blue eyes. I thought of my deceased wife, but only a moment. She would not have been comfortable in this house, though she had been reared in a similar setting.
Was this display of family not like the school pictures and magazine bits taped to the walls of the bus? How could we savor the same family commodity of love, in such diverse settings? Isn't it love that cements the bonds of family?