DEPART / ARRIVE (OHIA) I

Christmas, 1993, São Paulo to Cleveland alone, must have been via Miami, some book in hand along with unaccompanied minor papers. Picked up at the airport gate: still beyond security that year, immersed. Shuttled between the west side and Columbia Station with the heat blasting, drowsy against wet reflections of car and holiday lights. Some formidable tapes that trip: in your father’s boyhood room, staring up at the mint green ceiling and the light fixture painted with cowboy themes, blasting Daydream Nation between the trains barreling by; tramping through the snow back of the garage with Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge; up early your aunt’s, camped out on the floor of the living room painted orange sherbet, going through Last Splash; rooting through your grandparents’ attic with Trompe le Monde, finding your father’s old Land’s End blue checkered flannel, worn in that photo forever etched, city and country come together in front of the frozen well. A new skateboard from Schneider’s Bike Shop, skidding back and forth in the tiny basement off Denison, no more than ten-twelve feet to be covered before you’d either hit your head or run into a 1952 refrigerator. After popping a few butterscotch candies and before sitting down to paprikash, walk up to the Convenient Food Mart with some quarters for a few games of NBA Jam. Christmas morning, blueberry pancakes, the privilege of your cousins’ ritual for the first and last time. That was the winter you almost drove your grandfather’s 1949 Ford tractor into the pond while pulling your cousin on the toboggan – you cut to the right just in time, tried to deny the close call, but the tire marks in the snow told the whole story.

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One thought on “DEPART / ARRIVE (OHIA) I

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