The trailer park was not a park, as I had imagined, but a series of crude terraces cut into the side of a steep clay hill, with a gravel road up the middle and a security light at the top of a telephone pole.There were twelve trailers, six on each side, and the way they were placed on the hill, one above the other, meant nearly everyone could look down into someone else’s kitchen, living room, and bedroom. There had been talk of bears, and I hoped to see one in exactly those circumstances: from under the covers, safe inside our trailer.We had made a sign for the door—Welcome Home—but that didn’t appear to register.
Later, while we drove, my father wedged a paper cup between the dash and the windshield and had me take shots with a crumpled cigarette package, narrating like a commentator on TV.
We were football fans, my father and I, but we would play any game that presented itself.
Her reaction surprised me, to the extent that I stored the memory in a room at the end of one of the long, turning hallways of the mind.
The moment we confine memories to words, images are obscured by the language, the understanding, we have now.
When we arrive, she will hoist our son high against her chest and take him, murmuring his dreams, into the house.
I will carry our long-legged daughter from our car to her room, where I will lay her gently on the bed we have made for her.When we finally left the highway, he said, “Home at last.” There at our exit were three big hotels and a restaurant called the Kountry Kitchen and another called Noah’s and a go-kart track.My attention lingered on the go-kart track, which was closed.Rule number one, he liked to say: Keep your options open.My mother arrived two days later, in my father’s pickup truck.The result of my father’s insistence, my mother’s reluctance, was my father rolling from the bed, then shuffling out to where I sensed I should pretend still to sleep. He slid one strong arm under my knees, another behind my shoulders, and lifted.I fought to suppress a smile of anticipation, expecting to be carried in to share with them the wonderful discovery they had made, the cause of their laughter.I felt my rear end sag, my father’s knee rise to prop me up.My feet, then my head, bumped against the wall of the trailer, and then the door was open, cool air reached under my blanket.I heard my father’s heavy step into the trailer, heard him return, and the passenger door opened once more. Reaching under the blanket, he set in my hand the stuffed creature I slept with. The first time I told this story, without a moment’s forethought, was ten years later.She had confided something about her own parents, and we were, after all, in the dark, in the back of her mother’s car.