Thursday, December 1, 2005



"Red," you said. "Reminds of the sunset in Punta Gorda."

Aloud, I had wondered how long it would take to drive there.

"I've two weeks off," you said.

The next day, we had filled the van with clothes, shoes, and bedding, and set out on the road. It took six days of driving, and we pulled in just in time to see the sun set. The Gulf of Honduras was dyed red beyond the beach. We dug our feet into the sand.

"You're not going to make it back on time for work," I said.

You shrugged. "I would if we left tomorrow."

At this, we both laughed before speaking in unison: "But we're not leaving tomorrow."

Right there, we buried those words in the sand, hiding them to be dug up, discovered, by the next travellers.


"Red," you said. "Reminds of the fire which ripped through gran's bookshop in Northampton."

We used to play there as kids when our folks would send us to visit during those long summers between school years. Running through the isles. Hiding behind the counter. Exploring the darkened basement. All day, we'd play until something brought the play to a halt. Either me with a skinned knee and a rip in my corduroy trousers, or you with a bee sting and tears in your eyes, something always brought the play to a halt. One evening - the last evening of play in that store - it was a raging fire which forced us out of play.

Even now, everything's a blur. There was an alarm. A lot of smoke. Flames. Somehow, gran got us out of the store. I guess she was younger then. We stood around outside crying for awhile, huddled close to gran while she patted our heads and told us it was all going to be okay. At one point, the entire building was ablaze. Half the block. The sky, too, seemed to be aflame. Everything was red. The firemen were there with their trucks, the water seemingly doing little good. Lights flashing. Gran was calm.

"There was nothing good in there, anyway," she said. "Hasn't been a decent book written in forty years." I think the word is stoic.

Now, every time the subject is brought up around gran, she just smiles and says: "That's the kind of thing memories are made of, right?"


"Sis, what's your favourite colour? I've known you all your life and still I don't know this."

"Red," you said. "The colour of a ladybug's back. The colour of dear mama's oven mitts. The colour of apples fallen from aunt Nell's tree. Red. Without a doubt, red. Reminds of the trees out east, their leaves turned in the fall. Remember that? How red they'd turn?"

"Yeah, I do, sis. Yeah, I do."

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