There’s No Place Like Home

Working at a fancy restaurant in California is where it took place.
That busy day in November I was scheduled for a double shift on a Saturday.
Kitchen work was hard and the crew was a tight nit bunch. Myself and two boys were in the open kitchen. Romero and Tony, whom I refer to as My Tony.
Taking a tray of crème brulee warm from the oven like any other day into the walk-in proved to be anything but ordinary.
Tray was secure in it’s home on the cold steel rolling rack.
I turn to leave.
Before I know what is happening I start to slide and my feet flip out from under me arm bumping down the rack all the way down.
Like the thump, thump, thump of the markers that line the side of the highway as you drive sleepily home from a late night and fall asleep at the wheel for the tinniest of seconds.
I come to my resting place flat on my back.
What a sight that must have been for Romero and My Tony, who came rushing to my aid when they heard my screech and thud that followed.
Eyes big as saucers and looking at me lying on that cold floor – pride and backside equally bruised.
What they saw were my feet sticking out the walk-in door like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz who was trapped under the house with her stripped socks all before Dorothy took her glittery red “there’s no place like home” shoes.

My Books Smelled Like Melons

This is an exercise in prose poetry followed by the original {much shorter version} and a version that is not at all prose.

I wasn’t in a hurry when I left; it was a rather methodical expedition through our collected memories which were tucked carefully into seven boxes and driven over three rivers to where I gently landed in a cottage that had room enough for a single bed, two windows, and a dark oak phone booth that engulfed the multi-purpose living room. That phone booth became my nemesis as it hovered over, reminding me that I was alone in every sense of the word; so I turned it into my craft haven where I stored all my projects, ribbons and paper in yellow, violet, green, red and blue took the place of the dark wood exterior. There were no quick changes happening here, so I slipped into the welcoming quiet, and looked out the window as I watched the cows out for their daily stroll along the fence line.  The phone in that booth never rang and Superman never came to save me.

{Original}

I wasn’t in a hurry when I left; it was a methodical expedition through our collected memories which were tucked carefully into seven boxes. My journey took me to a cottage that had a single bed, two windows and a dark oak phone booth that engulfed the living room.  I slipped into the welcoming quiet.  Superman never saved me.

{Non prose version}

I wasn’t in a hurry
so, no I did not leave in a scurry
it was a slow exploration
a mental cleansing if you will
The memories were separated
fought over and then packed
Seven boxes were driven
over mountains and rivers
There laid a little house
and things were quite as a mouse
And there was the phone booth
the one that held the truth
Huge in the living space
it towered over me

Side note: I love the show The Big Bang Theory and got the idea for this prose piece from an episode where Sheldon was lamenting over the thought of having to move and how he would have to go the grocery store to get boxes for packing and was in a tizzy because my “books will smell like melons”.

195 Highland Drive

In Sutter Creek, California,
I rode my bike to my granny’s house
she never wanted to leave. It was sunny
I had stuffed monkey Lucy’s tail wrapped around my
banana seat.  We waved to Mr. Bugni
he waved back (it’s ok I’ve met him
before so he is not a stranger). Not like Mrs. Gibney –
she just moved there.

It took me exactly
nine minutes to get to my granny’s house
I rode real fast down the hills and didn’t stop
to pet Marcy’s new puppy, and Lucy didn’t fall off.

My granny’s smelled like apple pie and
I knew the crust would be real good. Flakey,
that‘s how she made it.

Lucy and I met her in the kitchen.
She was in there in her housecoat,
the one with faded red flowers, and weird shoes
that she cut the toes out because they hurt her feet.

Granny was cutting out coupons.  I got to look at the
Sears and Roebuck catalog…and boy was it heavy.
The cover was a lady in an Easter dress and it said
Spring 1980.

I turned to the clothes and asked for a pen ‘cause I was gonna
mark the stuff I wanted. I did this every year so
that everybody knew what I wanted for my birthday.
I circled the pink corduroy jacket on page 73
I gotta have that!
My granny leaned over to look.
Huh…? hmmm … oh, that’s nice dear,
and she went back to cutting out her coupons.
I worked my way through marking the things I needed.
I got to the toy section, and I was in heaven.  I wanted
one of each on page 176.

We took a break and ate pie and ice cream
sweet juice ran down my chin, and my granny
handed me a napkin.

I wondered what it would be like if she left her house
like normal people. Even Mrs. Gibney went to the store
by herself, and she had only been there a week.
I like to imagine us eating in restaurants with big hats
sipping tea and eating those little sandwiches
with the crusts cut off.  She would have worn
that salmon colored dress
with the rhinestones on the neckline that
I saw once in her closet,
and I would wear that pink corduroy jacket
that I circled on page 73.

I asked her about it one time, that salmon dress.  She said
this old thing, I got it from Sears and Roebuck my dear.
And she told me that it was for an anniversary party
for my granddad and her.
She said I was too young to remember,
and she only wore it that once.

I always wondered why she didn’t want to go grocery shopping,
and why she ordered everything
out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
My mom said that sometimes my granny got sad
and as a young girl I didn’t really know what that meant.
To me it just meant that she never wanted to come
to my school plays or art shows or softball games.

How old will you be this year, my granny asked?
I looked up at her from my circling. She said it real sly,
like she didn’t know. But I knew better,
so I say 16, even though I was half that. She says,
Guess you’ll be getting your license soon.
Yeah, I guess I can drive you now.
And we both nervously laughed.
I went back to circling.
It was January 12, 1980.