overhaul / undertow

Saturday, September 06, 2003

I stopped by my folks' house today in the far reaches of the west Valley, where the wide valley floor narrows to a little stretch of flatness interrupted at increasing intervals by intrusions of low rocky mountains, narrow box canyons, and dry ravines that flood in winter. I hadn't driven through this area in a long time and it felt like someone had given me an injection of something cool and sweet in my veins. I rolled the windows all the way down and careened around the canyon roads for a long time--drove to the small, hidden cemetery where my grandparents were buried, then by the resevoir land with its small chain of lakes and the rollicking road up and down like a rollercoaster to its left--at each dip I lifted my hands off the steering wheel for an infantile "Wheeee!" with the music loud......past the great stone house my grandfather built there on the edge of the lake and then along Valley Circle Road in towards my parents' house which sits on the huge chunk of property--now divided infinitesimally into tiny little suburban blocks and streetcorners that only hint at the bones of what used to be frontier, horse trails, fields of oranges.

No one was home when I got there. My mom has gone to Sedona with her little craft group--they decorate gourds or some such crafty thing, she gets a new craft fetish every few years (thank god she graduated from the geese-in-bonnets meme) and when she left Thursday I almost warned her about how touristy it was there, in Sedona, 'til I remembered I had never told her I'd gone to Arizona. In fact, I straight-up lied when asked to account for the dead air coming from me when she'd tried to reach me during that long weekend...I just wanted that time for myself, and I knew she'd flip if she found out I'd gone anywhere alone.

As for dad, I had no idea where he was, but his old army uniform from when he'd been in Vietnam was lying out draped over the couch, as though he'd been going through old boxes, assessing things. His truck was gone. He is probably out surfing.

I washed my car in their yard and took quarters for laundry.

The clock on the stove in the kitchen there is stuck at 5:52. It has been for years. I think they got it working once, for a week, but then it went back to 5:52 and remained there. It is always the same time--5:52--in their house.

It's such an easy metaphor, I feel cheap even writing with it, so I'll stop now.


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