Friday, December 16, 2011

Open House, or An Astrological Interpretation

Some people, if they know that there's more to a horoscope than just a sun sign, get their astrological chart calculated.  And then, when they look at their horoscope, some people see a lot of symbols in a circle.  One day, I decided to see my chart as a place, full of characters, and maybe a bit of a story.

Open House

Okay, well, here we are, and it's just about time for tea -- if anybody around here drank tea, that is.  It's nice that it's still light out, isn't it?   It's a little strange, though, there's nobody around.  The front yard's never empty like this, and somebody or other is always trying to climb the catalpa tree.  Yesterday I was out here, there's a neighbor's stupid cat trying to claw her way under the front porch or something.

Anyway, mind that loose step, and -- hello, the front door's unlocked.  Well, I guess at least somebody's home.  And by the way, this little hallway table here?  It's supposed to be really valuable, some Chippen-something, maybe the most valuable thing in the whole house, but they still just leave it here by the window, with this stupid goldfish bowl on it.   There used to be  more than just two.  You ever  wonder what it's like, just circling around like that, so slow in that murky water?  Somebody should change it.  Maybe later. 

This in here is the parlor.  It's usually always empty, just like this, and they just always keep the curtains drawn.  I'm not really sure what color they are.  And across the hall here we have the dining room, except I don't know why we call it that.  Because we never eat here.  You ever see a colder blue?  Huh?  Oh, about the man at the table, who's working?  Well, first of all, that table is where I used to do all my homework -- and that man is our crazy neighbor.  His wife won't let him tinker like this in their house, so he gives my dad a couple dollars.  We call him 'The Inventor'.  And that strange contraption he's got -- oh, don't worry, he never pays attention to anybody else -- anyway, it's  something he says is going to change the world.  He drags things like that into the house all the time.   For I don't know how long, and I really don't think the world has changed that much yet.

Anyway, the kitchen's back this way, in here -- but be quiet -- my mother's in there, by the sink.  She gets like that sometimes, just standing there and staring into her mirror.   She hung it there herself, a long time ago.  So she could watch herself doing chores, she says.  Like the dishes and stuff.  But mostly she just stands there and stares, and she hums some old song or other.  I even seen tears on her cheeks once.  It kind of reminds me of Lot's wife, you know, like in the Bible?  For some reason.  No, I do not think it's a good idea to ask her what she's crying about.  Anyway, she'd just lie about it. 

Let's go up the front stairs -- they don't squeak as much as the back ones.  Yeah, for a house that looks kind of small from the outside, there are a lot of rooms, once you get inside of it.  Now this room, for instance, here on our right, it used to be the nursery, when there were still some little kids in the house.  That's why it's yellow, I guess.  And they've still got a crib set up, although if you ask me, I think it would be a really weird miracle -- well, almost a tragedy, really -- if there was another baby born here.  And that man is my grandfather -- don't worry, he's almost blind, and so deaf, I don't think he can even hear the loudest screams.  He likes to come up here every day -- I think he likes it 'cause it's warm.  He used to say he was watching traffic down in the street, but all he ever did was run his fingers over the slats on the crib, like he's doing now.

(Oh, did you see that?  The clothes closet door there-- it just moved a little. There it is again.  I bet it's that delinquent brother of mine again.  He's always in there, hiding in the winter coats -- they catch him in there all the time.  It's pretty gross, and I probably shouldn't tell you, but anyway, when they pull the door open real fast, they catch him just standing there, with his fly open, and he's holding my sister's old parka tight against him, but just the sleeve part, and his face goes all red, and then he's kind of shaking, like he's having a convulsion or something.  And it doesn't really matter how much they threaten him or give him a beating, he'll just sneak right back, like some stupid thief)

Anyway, this over here is my room -- it's kind of a mess, I'm still only about halfway done with all the moving and stuff.  And yes, believe it or not, that is my same old television.  I have to keep the volume down.  My stupid crabby aunt sleeps across the hall, and she'd just love to come barging in, saying I'm ruining her sleep or something.  One time -- this is so funny -- I actually surprised her -- I pulled the door wide open and  she nearly fell, right on her face, in my room.  I knew I was hearing her out there in the hall, right up against the door, so she could try to surprise me doing something nasty.  Like I was somebody else.  Anyway, I just laughed, and I showed her what I was watching, with the sound practically off -- and I clicked back and forth with the remote, so she could see for herself, between those old reruns of Sea Hunt, and that one new magic show, that's kind of cheesy?  You know the one I mean?  I never knew anybody could smile so much. 

And back here -- oh, all that noise?  No, that is definitely not squirrels.  That is our wonderful attic.   And I would really like take you all the way upstairs to see it -- I mean, that's the whole point, right? -- except that, believe it or not, my fat uncle -- that's his wife who spies on me -- well anyway, my uncle managed, somehow -- he probably got my other brother to help him -- and they squeezed an entire, full-sized pool table up there, and now the rest of us can't get anything else out.  None of our books or any of our other stuff.  Nothing.  And he spends all his time there, smoking his cigars, and making bets over the phone, and then he likes to laugh at his own jokes.  Most of the time my cousin's up there too, when he's around.  He's in the Army now, but he came home on leave last week.  And -- oh yeah, he's definitely up there, 'cause I can hear him arguing with my other brother -- you know, the one with the delivery truck?  They play cards up there for days, and they always try to see who can cheat the most, and my fat uncle, he just lays around smoking and smacks the pool balls around a while for no particular reason.

Well, if you really want to sneak a look, I guess we could go partway up the stairs. The door's in here, way at the back of my parent's bedroom.  Don't touch anything -- we're not supposed to go through here.  Wait a minute -- this is weird -- my mother keeps this door shut real tight, so the smoke stays upstairs.  I'm going to peek --

Oh, now I get it.  Here, take a peek for yourself.  See?  Right where the stairway turns, by the little window?  That's my sister.  Yes, she is beautiful.  She's really the most beautiful one of all of us, I think.  But I feel bad for her lately.  Yeah, lately, she's been sitting up there a lot, just looking out the window.  She was dating a guy -- I think he sold sporting goods or something -- and he promised he was going to take her on a trip or go around to Europe or something.  But then he didn't show up, and she hasn't heard from him, and I think she thinks she'll see his car from up there.  It's red.

Oh man, look what time it is!  We better leave.  Let's get a coffee downtown, okay?  No, well, see, I forgot, my dad's working days this week, and he's home any minute.  It's just better, that's all.  Okay?

Be real quiet on the stairs, okay?  We could always come back.   If you want. 

©  2011   Walter Zimmerman

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