November 05, 2005

400 MILES

Around three am, I was standing barefooted in the kitchen of my aunt, a woman of remarkable personability and Christian sweetness. I am knocking back my bedtime water and staring at her fridge, with ancient envy heavy in my pulse. I beleived that normal was a fridge-door water and ice dispenser. I beleived that if we'd had a crushed or cubed option for ice, my parents would not have divorced.

**

We were turning into the driveway, and my dad and I are discussing the split level ranch house my aunt and her family live in.
"The accoustics are weird. You can hear every conversation in the house, no matter where you are." I say.
"Yeah, maybe it's the vents, or could be thin walls" says my dad.
"There's no privacy then" I say, "Maybe they don't need it."
We were quiet.
"Is that how most families are?" I ask.
"Normal families. And some big families, I think, generally, are like that." my dad says, with feigned authority. We might as well have been talking about squirrels we learned about on an tv special.

His family seems normal from the pictures, but tonight, the way my grandma's head bows when I mention I found a picture of what appears to be, her and grandpa in Hawaii. "No, no we never went any place like that. I think that was Michigan. It was a convention, we took a ferry." It was someplace sunny and tropic. Not Florida or California. I could swear Hawaii, but it's likely that luau's were de rigeur for conventioneers in the early 60's. It was dumb to ask, I asked because I forgot. My grandma, age 89, has never been on a real vacation, she has been to about five states aside from Indiana. (Trips for graduations do not count. Ferryboats in Michigan for the supermarket distributor sales convention does not count, sadly, even though you got to stay in a hotel.) "Dorthea, next door, you know, she's been all over the world." she says. Her voice curls when she says this. She flips and folds the paper back, pauses. "They have all these different kinds of faucets. It used to be everyone just had the same kind. Thats all you needed. Now it's just different ways for your money to spend."

Posted by Jessica at November 5, 2005 12:40 AM | TrackBack