Middle School One
When I was on a plane a memory came to me so I wrote it down.
Most of the windows of the old house faced due south. There weren't trees close enough to block out the sun, so in the middle of the afternoon it was very bright. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, my middle school years, I came home to this bright light and to Muffin the cat. I saw Muffin and the bright light every day after I walked up the long, sloped gravel driveway from the street, which is where the bus dropped me off.
When I remember the walk up the driveway I think of the color gray, which is the color the sky behind the house looked as I approached it from the street during the winter months of 2007-2008, which is when my mind began crystallizing memories concretely. Maybe this coincided with the beginning of my keeping a journal, or possibly puberty. The gray sticks out, and of course the bright sunniness. As time passed the sunniness turned the vinyl floor in the kitchen from off-white to a purplish color, which distressed Mom.
Mom and Chloe were never home. It was just Muffin, sun, and me. Chloe had dance class almost every night of the week and Mom worked. So when I got home I was alone and free to do whatever. "Whatever" involved napping. Pacing around the kitchen while on the phone with one of my few friends. Watering some seedlings that were sitting in the bright sun (or gray sky) on a little plastic tray. (Muffin later destroyed these seedlings after a dangling morning glory vine enticed her to jump onto the seedling tray to play with it. Her claws and paws got tangled and she panicked and that was the end of the seedlings.)
There was a desk in the room on the house's east side which was where the newer computer (Windows XP) sat. The room was not awash in the brightness or bright grayness of the adjacent kitchen because there were dark green curtains which gave the room a moody feel to match my seventh-eighth grade emotions. But I mostly stayed indoors in the afternoon. I would play The Sims 2 as the computer fan made jet engine noises trying to handle the game's graphics and my obsession with creating the perfect family.
I designed attractive husbands with square jawlines and stubble who always had jobs as doctors or lawyers whose wives spent their afternoons in cute houses with sunny kitchens. I modeled them off what I imagined my classmates' families looked like. No divorce. Stay-at-home Mom who kept a spotless home and meticulously organized her recipes in a wooden box. One house, in town (not in the middle of nowhere like where we lived). One sunny kitchen.
In the gloomier computer room adjacent to the seedlings (wrecked by Muffin) in the kitchen, I did things other than just design homes, families, and knee-weakening-ly tall dark and handsome husbands. DSL internet made finding information less dial tones, waiting, troubleshooting, and uncertainty and more falling into Google and Wikipedia holes.
It was fitting that googling and Wikipedia occurred in the kind of gloomy side room since the place that gave me things to investigate online (Hidden Oaks Middle School) was (and is) known as a gloomy gray place. Especially the room where we had our American History class, which was in the middle of the building and didn't have windows. In that room we learned a lot about the thirteen colonies and the Revolutionary War and a lot less about the American Indians, who were the first people whose homes on this continent filled with either grayness or sun depending on the day. Their budding plants definitely got destroyed by animals as well. But I didn't google them with as much interest as I googled Benjamin Franklin.
Thanks for stepping into my memory with me.