Melvin came to himself fully dressed in a brown snowsuit and knee deep in pristine snow in the empty lot beside the family house-trailer. He stared placidly at the rectangular home. White and green metal siding peeked out above eight foot banks ambitiously piled as insulation against the season. Although the late morning was overcast and gloomy the glorious snow sparkled and dazzled Melvin's eyes. If he were not so stunned by the sudden appearance of his conscious self the boy would have been startled to discover there were no footprints in the snow leading from the trailer to his position thirty feet away. He only concluded the trailer was his home because he was looking at it when he opened his eyes. This event made for only his second memory so far that day. The first was of a glowing ball of light.
He chewed the frost as it formed in his itchy hand-knit wool scarf then blew long puffs of steaming breath into the winter and pretended to be a dragon in a red pom-pom toque. Eventually, inevitably the relentless cold insinuated itself into his thick and clumsy mitts and boots. One inch of space age foam and rubberized plastic could never stop the primitive elements. Melvin couldn't tell if the tingling he felt was frostbite or the feeling he always got from being perfectly alone in the winter stillness. When finger and toe wiggling no longer held back the creeping chill he scooped a handful of clean snow into his mouth and charged like an awkwardly armored knight for the trailer's warmly lit windows. By the time he reached the door he'd put the entire incident out of his mind.
He remembered five years later, sitting on the edge of his bed in the midnight depths of winter. The furnace, an old fuel-oil burning model, chuffed and roared in the hallway breathing comfort and warmth into the small home. Despite familiar sounds and surroundings Melvin could not help but feel confused and more than a little concerned. The orange light had returned.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Lyndsay Markham found himself longing for familiar-looking people doing familiar-looking things, so he could despise them. All this perpetual newness was unsettlingly pleasant. He passed a garish gilded mirror in the quaint colonial hotel lobby and was horrified to discover a sunny smile had displaced his well-practiced sneer of perpetual disdain. That settled the issue. It was time to end his vacation or forgo an entire lifetime of rehearsed, aloof, unlikableness. Thinking of the effort invested in forming such a disagreeable personality and the open-ended return trip plane ticket his co-workers and mother had chipped in for him on his birthday he couldn't quite shake the feeling he was missing something.