Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Summer Home In Vegas

A Summer Home in Vegas

I had a home. Once. My home was filled with gumball machines and water balloon fights. There were black widows under the deck and pornography flyers in the ally behind the elementary school. During Monsoon Season we would craft little boats out of Powerpuff Girl Popsicle wrappers and Otter Pops and send them floating down the gutters that spilled over with dirty rain water. There was a secret room inside my parents closet and a sandbox out by the tall trees. My Dad mowed a maze into the tall grass in the back yard and the air shimmered with the heat.

When I met you, I remembered how it felt to walk into the cool darkness of an air conditioned house after spending an afternoon in the hot sun. I remembered learning to throw a baseball with the neighbor kids, walking home and making friends with the crossing guard. When I met you, after all this time, I felt like I had come home.

High school came and went, I worked summers in fast food joints. "Service with a smile" was something I learned to both hate and live by. I moved houses. Then schools. Then States. Then out. Home... home got lost in the shuffle somehow. Even coming home from school, going "home," it wasn't home anymore. At "home" I no longer had a room, no longer had a bed. I slept on a couch in the corner of my little sisters room while she slept in the bed that had been mine, in the clothes that I had grown out of, with the family I no longer lived with. "Home" didn't have a place for me anymore.

When we became friends it was like seeing a flat horizon, unobstructed by mountains, reaching on forever until the end of the world. I remembered blood red sunsets and palm tree shadows on asphalt that was hot even after the night had fallen. The night you chose me, forced me to be honest with myself and held me while I cried-- You brought me home again Bobby. You made a space in your life that was mine to claim. So I did.

When I think of home it is bittersweet. I think of the beautiful purple cactus in my neighbors yard that I loved to look at. One day I got too close and fell into the pretty purple flowers. I got too close. But the cactus was still beautiful.
I got too close. I should have learned from my purple cactus. But I've gone and done it again. Fallen into the beautiful flowers.

All those Sundays on the lake, floating on a big blue raft with my Father, dangling my feet in the icy water while my shoulders and cheek bones burned... those days were reflected in you. You became a part of my memories, my past. You became the older brother I would have pushed into muddy water, wrestled with in the sandbox, found eggs with in the trees months after Easter was over and done. You became my home. And now you're leaving. In a small way, you've already gone. And when you finally go I will have lost my summer home in Vegas.