I've been away for awhile, but now I'm back and surrounded by the familiarity from my younger days. There is the same coffee table, now scratched with age. Up against the wall near the stairs is the stereo console with the built-in turntable, except the needle is broken. The brown couch I am sunk in is threadbare and faded. Yes, it's all familiar and so is the reminder that I don't belong here.
Even though I grew up in this house, I never considered it home. The once brightly painted walls are dingy, the plush carpet, worn down almost to the bare floor. Mom wasn't big on decorating. She concentrated more on preparing for her place in heaven. Beth, Eric and I were expected to do the same. Imagine being required to focus on a place of dubious existence during a time when we were celebrating a won war; a time when the pulsating, unique beat of rock and roll began to pour through the woodwork and into our hungry souls; a time when black and white televisions took up prominent space in the living rooms of our Long Island neighbors. A new world was opening up, one with a variety of mind-expanding ideas, ideas my mother believed were inspired by the devil himself.
But I am older now and young men are being drafted into another war, this one undeclared, and the music is filled with protest and anger. It's a time for questions.
I have Sunday's Newsday scattered around me and the radio dial on a top forties station. Dust motes drift in the sunlight streaming through the window and I want to be one of them, the tiniest of specks freer than I will ever actually be. And, normally I would feel relaxed in my jeans and oversized shirt-a shirt that had been my father's-but I am far from comfortable. Maybe it's because Sundays were never a jeans and sloppy shirt day. No, there were years of frilly dresses and patent leather shoes, and being forced to stay dressed that way throughout the Seventh Day set aside for rest and worship. I was a child. I had too much energy to rest, and what did I care about worship?
All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey...
I've been for a walk on a winter's day...
I turn the page of the newspaper from a photograph of two young boys, younger than me, burning their draft cards protesting the Vietnam mess. The following page has an article about the abortion rally in New York. Curiously, there was a sidebar advertisement of a young glowing mother holding her infant. The ad was for Gerber's Baby food. I was debating if the layout was intentional when I heard a car pull into the driveway. That would be Beth. I took a deep breath. One has to prepare for my sister who does piety the way some folks do drugs, and she overdoses on Sunday.
Stepped into a church I passed along the way...
Three car doors slammed shut. No surprise there.
I got down on my knees and pretend to pray....
The front door opened with Beth already in mid-sentence.
"---was one of your best sermons yet, Eric." She swept into the room, her hefty Bible cradled in her arms. My brother Eric held the door opened for Jenny.
Dear reader, if you want to know what happens next, please let me know.