Our House

Let’s take a little ride in the Dartillac, ’k?

Where are we going? Well, on a day like today—Tuesday, Nov. 15, 1977—there’s no school due to parent-teacher conferences. And now that Mom is back from said conferences, we can take off in her car.

Hop in.

First, we stop at the Mound Post Office to mail another letter to Lisa Tepley. Her last letter arrived at the end of September, and admitted there was a lag between letters. After she responds three days later, on the 18th, she says she’s glad I’m in a good place and that she really likes the graduation picture I sent her. “It’s too bad,” she writes, “that there aren’t more relationships like ours in this world. But ours is special, right?”

We don’t have to work at the mall today, so we’re free to go anywhere. We can listen to the radio if you’d like. Since we’re in Mound, let’s drive up to the Highlands and go visit Kim at her house. Now that we’re talking again, and late-night calling each other, let’s whip by and see how she and her family are doing.

As we park in the driveway of the modest green and white rambler on Hawthorne Road, one of our favorite songs comes on the radio.

I’ll light the fire

You place the flowers in the vase

That you bought today…

I just sit behind the wheel for a moment, astounded.

“What is it?” you ask.

“This song. Reminds me of December ’76. And this is the first time, in a long time, that I’ve been back at this beautiful little house.”

So, we turn off the ignition and go up to the door. Kim’s youngest sister Anny greets us. She says Kim is over at Jon’s, her new boyfriend. We give their mixed poodle Bozo a big hug and ask about the new dog, Anya. Anny lets us in to see the new pup and we look over the living room where nearly a year before Kim and I were making out on the sofa while listening to the Beach Boys’ “All Summer Long”—even though it was the dead of winter. Past the kitchen and down the hall are the bedrooms—the farthest back room is Kim’s, where an upright piano hulks against the west wall.

In the space of two minutes and 58 seconds, it’s like being invited back into a past from which you were forever exiled:

Come to me now

And rest your head for just five minutes

Everything is done…

Just a pocket of time extended in a rush of sense memory: the smell of strawberry cream rinse in long blonde hair, the cuddling and laughter, late afternoon light through an elongated upper living room window … the excitement of knowing someone loves you and that you love them.

Such a cozy room

The windows are illuminated

By the evening sunshine through them

Fiery gems for you

Only for you…

Like the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song, we enjoy a rare moment of being happy and at the same time observing that happiness. It’s such a deep impression that I’m compelled to write about it in the diary when I get home. I will feel a similar impression nearly 31 years later when, housesitting for a friend, my girlfriend and I dozed in front of their lit fireplace, her head on my shoulder, while the friend’s dog and cat slept at our feet. I’m in the moment, yet looking at it as if it’s someone else’s experience and appreciating it as if it were my own. Which, of course, it is.

And then just like that—we’re back outside, restarting the car. The radio’s still on, the song is just winding down…

Our house is a very, very fine house

With two cats in the yard

Life used to be so hard

Now everything is easy

‘Cause of you.

~ by completelyinthedark on August 3, 2012.

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