“I woke up to one dot,” the woman’s voice drifted from the sunlight into the corner where I sat. I sipped my coffee shaded by pines, on a black leather sofa outside of the kitchen. Breakfast was being prepared. I could smell the bacon cooking.
“I tried it over here,” a softer voice said. It floats. “But still no service. You have to walk up to the gate, where the cars are parked and then you’ll get service.”
This morning, I walked that road. I wound myself around the trees. I breathed in their pine needles and
vanilla. The early morning chill. I listened to the crunch of the gravel
under my feet and I wondered about roads like this. Roads that lead to cabins with wood shingles and windows that wink at you as you walk by. Big open windows that let everything in and nothing out.
We had a house like that once, an A-frame in Lake Arrowhead. I’d sleep in a hammock stretched out between four trees, the sun tawny on my cheeks. My dad would drive us up the hill in his brown and white van, my mother by his side, my sister and me in the swivel seats in the back.
In high school I invited my girlfriends up for weekends. In college I’d bring my boyfriends, Ted Forbath and Mike Gallagher. Even though I knew how to get there, my dad mailed me Memo’s with directions: how to drive to the house, how to unlock it, how to call the Lake Arrowhead patrol so they could plow, turn the heat on, or do a spider check. I wish I’d kept those memorandums, typed on thick Warner Bros. stock.
We waterskied and drank our vitamin c with Champagne and Absolute. We lay on the dock, me and my sister, comparing our tan lines.
“You’ve got to learn how to relax, Ca.” My dad calls to me from the boat snug in its slip.
“Daaaaad!” I say. “Very funny.”
The summer I learned how to drive my dad took us four wheeling in the orange GMC Jimmy, that he outfitted with a red bug catcher and a pewter bull dog on the hood. My sister and I bounced in our seats, our laughter trailed behind us on dirt roads like a wake behind a boat.
I thought we’d have that house forever.
Today as I walked along the gravel road, the crunch of earth underfoot, the splash of memory on my skin I remembered that tomorrow I will outlive my father.
** Written at the Glint of Light workshop at the Inn at the Lake, Connamarra, Hope BC.
**My father passed away September 12, 1988