Tuesday, September 29, 2009
There was an old house.
No more than four blocks as the crow flew. Probably six as the fox ran.
It was filled with books. It was also a library.
The Houston Memorial Library.
I don’t know what I was to memorialize there. Maybe a confederate general.
They had book sales every now and then. Those sales felt the best when the fall light was coming in the widows. Cutting through the dust on the glass case. The case that had guns. Knives. A leather kidney shaped canteen. We’d have walked over crunching the magnolia leaves that covered the sidewalks in orange and brown herringbone. After the rains, we’d slip on them.
You could see out of the back to onto the side of a ranch house. The jilt of seeing a sixties car port while rocking on creaking floors with water stains made me think, for the first time, that there are two worlds. There’s this one, the one I’m in, that makes sense. And there’s that one, the truth. That heraldry has tawdry neighbors. And beyond the discolored drapes there was the truth.
As mom would look for books, I’d pretend that I was, too. That I read. That I was planning on having a hundred books of a hundred pages and a hundred bookcases full of words. I’d pull out one with a great spine illustration and Look at this one and my mother, bless her heart, would never be frustrated or short and would always tell me That looks really neat, Micah and I’d buy it for a dime and it would sit on my shelf and I’d never open it.
But if I did, I’d smell Houston Street. Fall in Alabama. Knowledge.
I miss that smell.