Sometimes memories well in my mind and refuse to budge until I deal with them. I’ve been having one of those the last few days, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was someone’s birthday, or the anniversary of some distant occasion long gone from my consciousness. It’s a memory as vivid as if it had taken place yesterday, and as ethereal as if it had happened in that gossamer moment when my eyes first flutter open in the morning. It’s not a complete memory, but one that comes rat-a-tatting back like cotton candy machinegun fire.
There’s a tree in a yard and its trunk has been painted white. A tire swings on a rope from one of its branches, and there’s a cherry tree with bark like raw silk. Its joints ooze with sticky amber-colored sap and empty locust shells. An uncle pushes a motorless mower through the grass. The blades turn and go trsk trsk trsk.
There’s a black telephone with a round dial sitting on a credenza. When the phone is picked up, a woman asks, “Number, please.” The number begins with letters. Sometimes the woman doesn’t answer because other people are having a party on the line. Beside the phone are photographs of the twins who look nothing alike. Bruce is a star on the football team. Janie is a cheerleader and a princess who wears long white gloves that reach past her elbows, and a diamond tiara in her hair.