Posts Tagged ‘home’

The Howling

April 23, 2010

Looking back on some writing from almost 10 years ago.

My second Christmas visit home after living in New York for Law School:

2000-12-23 | 12:53:09 am

i arrived safely today. safely in calvert county. funny how i don’t feel very safe in these parts though. not safe at all.
just 15 minutes ago, i was standing in the garage, having a cigarette. because that is where i have to go. everyone is sleeping and the whole place is so quiet. the only sounds i could hear were the wind and the trees rubbing against the sides of the house.

i stood over my stepfather’s worktable. i was squeezed between that and the gutted 1972 monte carlo, ready for a new paintjob because that’s where he keeps the ashtray. i had my armycoat on and my grandmother’s slippers (they were in my bedroom) and i was trying not to listen to the wind or look out the window. just trying to think about how cold it was. bitterly cold and i needed a cigarette at that time of night in the bitter cold.

but you see, there was absolutely no light coming through that window. no sounds from the street. just the reflection of me and the gutted monte carlo and the howling of countryside wind and the tree branches scraping the house.

it disturbs me. in a way that i can hardly explain. almost like how i felt when i first moved to new york.  there, i feared my environment was too big. i was scared to go outside. here, i think it is too small and i am absolutely terrified of the outside.

i’ve lost touch in a way. and it made me put my cigarette out half-way through and run up the stairs into the house. like i was a little girl afraid of the monster in the basement. you know, after the light is turned out.

i had gone out into the garage. for a cigarette. to think about this conversation i just had with my mother. before her eyes got all droopy and her body got up involuntarily to start turning out lights and locking doors and latching the dogflap and picking up my empty gin&tonic glass. i was sitting on the floor and we had been talking about our worlds and our history and she was telling me things i’m not sure i want to know.

about her father, her mother, her brothers, her ex-husband (the dead one), her other ex-husband (my father), my brother, her pain, her heart and her soul.

i think she understood me when i told her i felt torn between worlds.

i think she knows what i mean when i tell her i feel like i went to college and learned some big words and then proceeded to analyze her life and my life and THElife, like i really knew what was going on.

she doesn’t understand my urge to just quit everything in my life and go get a job where i punch in and out and get paid on friday afternoon and i have my evenings and weekends to live my life like a “normal person.”

she tells me she wants more than that and this means that couldn’t possibly be good enough for me.
and then she told me things that i’m not sure i want to know. things that explain why the two most important women in my family, the two that i’ve always depended on, have been knocked down, silenced and stifled.

and though she told me this doesn’t have to happen to me, i think that’s the thing i fear the most. the thing that terrifies me more than the howling of the countryside wind and the tree branches scraping the sides of this house and the noises coming from underneath the gutted monte carlo, and the darkness through the garage window.

i guess the “outside” that i fear has nothing to do with my physical surroundings at all.  not at all.