“Sigh”, I sighed, reaching up to the cupboard where cans upon can of Chef Boyardee were alphabetically arranged pristinely. They hadn’t been touched since Mom left for the third time.
As I poured the can of ready made pasta into the deep fryer, somehow reminiscient of the familiar sizzling sound, I wondered what my life here would have in store for me. A small town of 365 people seemed to bear some metaphor for me. 365 days in a year. It was a metaphor I’d never come to understand. Surely, I’d see evidence of small town America. I knew that there was bound to be some evidence of poverty, some broken homes, that this town would surely not be a portrait of middle class America, all driving newer cars without a care in the world. I mean, the natives, would be poor of course, living in fishing cabins, but that was to be expected. That much I knew.
Amidst my distracted thoughts, I almost put black pepper on Charlie’s Chef Boyardee. Charlie may have carried the backwards ignorance of all small town broken fathers but he knew the origin of black pepper. And I shuddered to hear his definition of East Indians. Yet, I also knew, that beneath his façade of stereotypes, Charlie saw himself as all American. As he chomped away voraciously at the steaming pile before him, I could hear him happily mutter, “Mmmm. Borlamo, Shuf Borlamo”, and I made my way upstairs to my new “old” room which I expected to suck.
The room had not changed. The floors were still wood but two things caught my attention. The yellow curtains, still stained were my childhood. They were still there. Memories flew back, like a legion of fluttering bats against a full moon. Memories of playing with those curtains, the little tea parties I’d have with them, practicing for the day when one day I could cook for someone, when I’d fingerpaint on them and sometimes tear them down to make little wedding dresses.
Stacked in my closet were untouched copies of “Compendium of Classics: Literature through the Ages”, “World Culture”, Anne Rice's "Lestat", and a shiny new American Pie DVD., which I used for all my book reports.
But what really captivated me was the way the rocking chair presented itself. It was almost as if it were a theme song for a movie was better written than the book that preceded it. The chair, its back formed of spindled Doric columns presented a menacing shadow, a black ghost with a sutured mouth, muted tales of Alacatraz and those who had longed for death within its walls. Chips of paint, flaked, adhered to the rocking chair, were unable to free themselves to the sweepings of a careless broom, captured in a time whose memory I in turn held caged.. There was a macabre horror to it all, one which I was incapable of describing. I never was a good writer.
Instead, I thought about how much my life sucked.