i remember my aunt colette coming from rochester to austin on the weekends. when i was young, she would stay at my aunt kathleen’s house in the small office area painted a warm peachy red color, its small, high windows letting in little light. there was a pull-out couch, cream with neutral, nubby stripes running down the cushions, that pulled out into a bed little larger than a twin. friday nights i would spend with colettie, cuddled up as little spoon to her big spoon, and fall asleep as she ran her hand over my ear, smoothing my brown hair back from my face.
my mom has a crimson suit, or had, i should say, as it now belongs to my aunt rae, with gold buttons running down the front, high collar, and long sleeves. she called it her power suit, and when she wore it, we all knew that something big was going to happen. because it was the 80s when she donned the bright, richly colored suit, she was going to a meeting that required some presence and obvious power from a female in a male-dominated field. the brilliant suit worked for her on more than one occasion.
thursdays and sundays spent in the cities at the gay 90s always resulted in throbbing music pulsating into my head. if i have early onset hearing loss, i blame the 90s. outside the club, all was quiet, but closer to the doors, the thrumming beat of the bass got louder and louder until we were inside, our bodies throwing themselves onto the dancefloor where techno and electronic music blasted from large, black speakers.
everyone looked forward to the 2nd grade teacher at queen of angels, mrs. royce. word was, in first grade, that she could turn her eyelids inside out, and that was enough to get any 6-year-old excited. she had straight, frizzy brown hair, a long face, and looking back she seemed rather tomboyish. her defining feature, those inside-out eyelids, were what kept her reputation as an easy-going teacher alive.
let me tell you about the best chicken i’ve ever had. last week (yes, it was only last week), i went to chester’s in downtown rochester with my cousins and aunt. it had snowed heavily two days before and downtown was still a slushy mess, and to top it off, it was 5 p.m., rush hour, so finding a parking space was close to nil. after walking through the chilly march weather, we were seated in the “outdoor” space of chester’s (actually in the galleria mall, not in the restaurant). i ordered rotisserie chicken, hoping that it was worth the $17 price tag. and NOMG, it was. five stars – would eat again.
i have always been freaked out by thunderstorms. my mom attributes it to some violent storms leading to having to spend some time in the cellar in the house in austin, not a pretty place. since nate’s started working nights, i’ve grown to hate night storms. the thrum of the rain against the windows wakes me up, and if it’s summertime and the windows are open, i rush through the house slamming windows shut. then i curl up in bed, blankets pulled snugly around me, waiting for the strikes of thunder that shake walls and rattle my brain. if i’m lucky, i have a warm kitty curled up next to my head, but i would rather have someone holding my hand when the lightning streaks and those violent cracks of thunder hit my ears.
smells i remember: cut grass, tree sap, lake, christmas tree, baking chocolate chip cookies, springtime on a farm – melting manure, lilacs, library books, printer toner, cut wood in the black hills.