“Noah Calvin Sowles! Child! Don’t you be readin’ no ghost stories in them comic books. That ain’t the Lawd’s writin’.”
The shrill pitch of his mother’s voice feigning anger was enough to rattle the young boy. She believed that there were definite dark influences in the cartoonish drawings and macabre stories that he had been collecting, and she was quick to frighten him with warnings of reprisals from God Himself.
Sowles opened his eyes to his mother’s vanishing face. It was morning. He had finally gotten some sleep, but a heavy sadness hung over his bunk. He missed his mother, wishing that she was still alive so he could sit on the couch with her in Oakland in their sweet, one-story house. He longed to see her again fussing over her couch cushions with their embroidered, quaint phrases and dusting her little, ceramic animal knickknacks. He missed the pictures of his father that she kept on her tall, mahogany end tables, photos of the man either in his naval uniform or dressed in a snappy blue suit and tie from when he was the head steward on the Amtrak train to LA.
Sowles would visit the deserted home occasionally, but hadn’t been back in over a year. The front and backyards were overgrown, making the home shabby but more so sinister and disconnected in time. Yet, that didn’t seem to matter to anyone in the old, crumbling East Oakland neighborhood. When he had forced himself to return to the house, he had been too heartbroken to go near his father’s spanking new electric lawnmower, push-roller lawn edger, and garden shears, the few material things that the old man had been proud of.
Sowles hated the house, but refused to sell it for reasons he was wasn’t fully sure of. He seemed unable to release his difficult childhood memories, as if he needed to shelter them in the house, and by doing so also keep his deceased parents alive.
But it was also the forty years of memories of the few skewed youthful years he had spent trying to stabilize with his beautiful, sixteen-year-old, caramel-colored Sheylinn that kept the pain alive. If only he could have her again, walking up to the porch to get him for their morning bus ride to school. In spite of them both now well aged, there was still that part of his psyche that believed or at least wished that they could start over, maybe even in his old house.
The sun was shining. He had survived an abysmal night in the truck, but in the light of day, he calculated that he had also survived over fifteen thousand nights without being attacked by bandits or monsters or dying in his sleep. He felt relieved but amazed also that he had lived as long as he had, considering the many nights where he felt that he was losing his mind and suspected that his body wasn’t far behind.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish