Friday, June 17, 2005

The oil barrel was cut in half, tied to the rafters of the boat house which more like a barn high above the water where the ships would come, surrender themselves. It was here we would swing, walk tip toe across the beam, drop and trust two ropes attached to the wall.

I don’t remember what I was afraid of when I was young. I remember I never felt I would fall, water was safer then land. Both my parents had lost a sibling. My father was holding his sister’s hand when she ran across the street and my mother's older brother was dragged 14 feet by a drunk driver.

I was raised on those stories of loss. I was raised by the simple principle that anything could happen, if you moved your feet, one step of misdirection could cost you everything. I learned to lie well, to hold onto to my daring, to slip across the barn floor at night, to hang myself from beams.

When I was eight the car barely missed me, I was riding down the hill making the corner fast, on to the main street. I had my hands in the air, used my hips to lean over the edge and I made the turn, bounced slowly off the fender into the ditch.

There is an art to being still, to making your body stiff, to hoping he will not see you, face down in the grass. There is art to saying no, I do not live here or here. My house is somewhere over the hill and there is no one home to claim me.


H. W. Alexy said...

Houses become like countries. Do you ever absolutely feel comfortable in one? An emmigrant, I'm not certain.

Do you ever wonder if life is not what you miss, rather than what you experience? My mother has spoken of being a refugee during WWII, arriving after the bombings. Last summer, my wife and I took a train trip to Toronto, one day before the hostage-taking at Union Station.


early hours of sky said...

This is why my houses have no walls. How are you Helm? I hope you are well.

Molly said...