Too little to remember

A thunderstorm at dawn leaves the day unexpectedly clear, the windchimes overflowing with their trill, loose wild oranges fluttering, clouds looming. It feels like something ought to be happening, but nothing is. I’m outside on the wicker couch holding Claude, who looks up curiously, but sometimes waves his arms, coughs and groans. The leaves rustle and you feel alive, sort of, even though a dead version of yourself follows you around, dragging its memories like hematomas just under the skin. It’s splendid and silly. I guess this house in southern California will be Claude’s past, or maybe his first memories. It’s a city called Whittier, just outside L.A., a place of historical white privilege and conservatism that has more recently evolved into part of the “Mexican Beverly Hills.” Set high up on the slopes, it looks down on more working class neighborhoods like Pico Rivera. Claude will remember nothing of this day: not the damp leaves or peeling paint, not the empty fire extinguisher or propped-up old rake. It is wild to me that we live in a tiny house that costs $2200 per month. A tiny house full of problems.

“Why were the kitchen tiles broken?” we asked the landlord upon arrival.

“Because the firefighters cracked them.”

Oh, why were the firefighters here?”

“Because the house caught on fire from the last tenants’ candle.”

It was sobering to live in a house that had already burned.

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