in Introspection

Almost Home

I’m sitting in the trailerhouse on a late afternoon in early October. The sun is slanting through the window. Duke — the black kitten — is basking in the ray, which strikes his forehead, turning the fur almost silvery. A mild wind is blowing, and as it has for thirty-five years, it moans softly around the cracks and crevices of the trailer.

This trailer, which is now the business office, I once called home. Sometimes it still feels like home. At this moment, with the warm sun slanting through the window, with the wind moaning, with the kitten by my side, it’s hard to imagine that it’s not home. It even smells like home.

I slip into a reverie, find a memory from childhood that seems almost real. A Sunday afternoon from just this time of year. Lunch is over. Mom is washing the dishes. Jeff and I are in the living room with Dad, who is sprawled on the couch in the tipout. He has his shirt off, and Jeff is using a felt pen to draw faces on his big belly. I am stretched on the shag carpet (harvest gold), have claimed a rectangle of sunlight, and am reading the paper. I am reading the comics. I am reading the sports section (the Beavers lost again, and so did the Ducks). I am reading the poems in Northwest Magazine. Maybe there’s a cat, or a dog, or a bird in the room. Maybe Tony is here, coloring quietly.

Outside, the wind blows dully, and, if I listen carefully, I can hear the trailer moan. I can smell —

— and then I’m jarred to reality by a fourteen minute conversation with a customer who is woefully confused about an item we made in August, but which he cannot recall…

I’m always amazed at how little things — like sunlight on a kitten’s forehead — can trigger waves of nostalgia.

This morning on the drive to work, the sun was shooting God-rays through the lingering mist. You know the ones: the great shafts of light that slice through the trees, as if they’re something real, something tangible, something that you might be able to touch and hold.

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