A short story of childhood memories.
|Testing her memory banks she repeated quietly to herself, "1515 1/2 South Third Street." As the address rolled past her lips, mental snapshots of two single concrete lines of driveway which ran from the narrow driveway on Third Street snaked past her grandparents' large home, and carried her to the backyard where she could see the small structure that had been her childhood house.
For nearly a decade she had lived there with her mother and younger sister. A few months after the addition of a step father she was expelled. Her memory flashed, compiling years and editing them into moments.
The brown shingles were hewn by hand and made of a dark wood, one half inch thick. The shingles were burned with creosote making them look like they were rescued from a fire. The wood splintered dangerously and was always menacing. She rubbed her thumb where a small red cord of scarred skin remained all of these years later.
The top of the concrete block foundation was barely visible beneath the shingles and what could be seen of the blocks seemed to grow up from the beds of the Agave montana 'Baccarat'. A dangerous shrub that would deter all but an insane intruder.
Thirty years earlier, the ten-year old Laura would take the path from the front of their small brown shingled house and continue around the side, to the back of the house. There was an old apricot tree there that ruled the area with dark, reaching, full limbs. What seemed like hundreds of birds made the tree a frequent snack bar. The ground was a thick floor of leaves, dead fruit, broken branches and spider webs which kept it wild.
She could remember going back there long enough to gather fruit to eat, but mostly scrambling to keep away from the black widow spiders that lived and bred there. Outside was where Laura was the most comfortable.
Some memories eluded her as she could not recall the transition, but she knows they moved to the brown shingle cottage from a mountain home, where as a young child Laura had spent her early mornings until just after dark outside and in the forest.
There was little connection with the few people in her life. Her mother was a tall classic beauty was unaware that she was gorgeous. She was born in the wrong time and to emotionless Protestants. Laura's sister was born four years after her, and was a good fit. Leslie was loved and wanted. Laura was not.
Laura was a solo explorer of her world and often trekked many miles in a day. One day, she kept going and began a journey that would take her into many adventures. She was reported as a runaway, but other than that, no effort was made to locate her.
As Laura was about to take leave of her memories, she thought her grandparents' yard. They had three fig, and four avocado trees. There were roses, sunflowers, rhubarb, and more apricots. All of that life flourishing for such dispassionate people was a contradiction that Laura could only see now.
It saddened her that all she could remember of the people she was supposed to be related to were their grey and disapproving looks. There was no love taken or given from those poor souls. They were dead and lifeless to Laura, and she had been an accidental relation to them.
Her strongest memory of her childhood home remains the address, the trees and the brown wooden shingles.