Memories of my childhood home (September 2012)

It is a lonely trailer, old, worn down, unloved and unlovely. The paint is chalky brown and beige. You can run a hand across it and get a dusting of color and dirt. Most of the other trailers in the park have a skirt around the bottom to hide the cinder blocks they sit on, but not this trailer. This trailer shows its rusted legs sitting on broken cinder blocks and a pink blush of insulation where the raccoons have crawled in. It is a sad, tired trailer, baking in the summer heat.

A small wood porch sits outside the front door. The wood on the porch is weathered and untreated, a dusky dirty grey. The heat soaks into the wood so that it hurts to stand there too long in the summer. It seems it’s always summer in south Texas. A girl child steps out through the creaky front door and narrows her blue eyes against the afternoon sun. She looks like summer, with hair bleached by the sun and skin tanned to a golden brown. She smells like sunscreen and the sticky-sweet of popsicles. Her bare feet shift on the hot porch as she stands there a moment, looking across the bare yard, looking across fresh black asphalt with heat waves radiating up, looking across to another yard and another trailer.

It is a loved and lovely trailer, fresh and clean. That trailer had new siding put on in the spring; dark blue siding with white trim and white window covers. There is a skirt covering its legs and cinder blocks, keeping the raccoons out. Dark green Kentucky blue grass grows rich and soft and cool. There are flowers growing in a flower bed, pink and purple, and lattice growing ivy, lush and bright green with white flowers blooming. There’s a shade tree hanging over the porch, casting soft shadows on the dark stained wood. The girl child considers the shade and the flowers, how cool and inviting that other porch seems.

She looks down at her yard and sees dry dirt with a few daffodils struggling through the hard packed earth, a few tufts of brown grass burned up by the relentless July sun. There is a flower bed, empty except for cracked brown soil and a rusted tomato cage. It is a hot yard, and a hot porch. The girl considers the heat and steps back inside.

The inside of the trailer is an oasis of cool. Summer sunlight drifts lazily through the windows, all of its heat drowned in the air conditioning. An orange cat sits on the window sill, tail swishing slowly, eyes squinting against the light. There is a brown plaid couch, a second hand find, remarkably uncomfortable for a couch, with coarse material over hard pillows and a harder frame. A mother sits on the couch, a book propped up in one hand. She’s idly toying with a gold necklace, her fingers twining around the chain. She looks up at her summer time girl and smiles. The smile is cool and inviting. The smile says love and family and home. It is not a tired smile, nor sad, nor lonely, but bright and welcoming and lovely.

It is a sad, lonely trailer, but only on the outside.