The clothes in your closet have a smell. Your whole room is sweet as maples and browning leaves. Wool sweaters, coats with the messages still inside, hunting vests and the box of Christmas pocket knives, medications in yellowed labels with someone else’s name and number.
When you were a baby we thought you’d go blind. Our parents bought sticky patches and lined glasses designed to strengthen eye muscles. You exercised by watching fingers move around the room. Then later, your doctor fixed your eyes. And you in the out-patient bed, waiting for your whites to clear and be white again, watching our parents put ice chips into your mouth. We all listened to music videos on the hospital television.
Once we melted crayons into pegs on the radiator pipes of our old room. Sea green and goldenrod swirled down the white metal and into the adhesive of our carpet. I painted by number over there all winter and watched horses come to full gallop or nuzzle maternal necks. Our ceiling tiles and posters were warped from the steam. Our windows like something out of a book, the sugar coating of gingerbread houses.
From up there in our room, we would watch friends circling bicycles in the pine needles and standing up on pedals in winter boots. Our cats creeping along the sides of the house, nosing the chinks in the mortar. The neighbors’ car warming in the drive.
In the summer we scaled the Oak tree next to our house and sat on the roof. Dangling legs over the edge and listening to our mother yell up to us about calling the fire department. We looked over our town, into the fenced in back yards, into secret swimming pools and someone’s rainbow garden.
Lydia Copeland’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Quick Fiction, Glimmer Train, Dogzplot, elimae, FRiGG, Pindeldyboz, Twelve Stories, SmokeLong Quarterly, Night Train and others. Her chapbook, Haircut Stories, is available from the Achilles Chapbook Series, as well as part of the chapbook collective Fox Force 5 from Paper Hero Press. She works in Manhattan and lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.