I vividly remember short bits and pieces of my first home. It was on Bermuda Drive, and it was blue. There was a massive oak tree in the front yard that dropped more acorns and leaves than aught to be possible for a single tree. My dad would rake the leaves into mountains, then we would dive into them and bury ourselves deeply into the scratchy mounds. Afterwards, we’d be left digging leathery leaf bits and acorns out of our netherparts for quite some time. One year he decided the tree needed to go. He and my uncles rented a chainsaw and took that sucker down while my siblings and I cried, lamenting future leafless autumns.
A swing set with candy cane stripes sat prominently in the postage stamp back yard. The cherry red fence was trellised with vibrant moss colored grapevines that grew the sourest grapes you’ve ever eaten, and a shaggy white dog named Schnapps was always at our heals. Our fence was low and I remember peaking between the peeling planks to spy on the old woman who lived in the house behind us. In hindsight she was probably in her 40’s, but to me she was old.
My brother and I would use the doggy door to go in and out of the backyard — who needed doorknobs, right? One day, soon after I crawled into the kitchen through that doggy door, I was playing at the kitchen table. The wall adjacent was made out of mirrored tiles and I was hanging upside down on one of the chairs, looking at my reflection and contemplating my hair that hung all the way down to the ground. This, I remember vividly. In the mirror next to my reflection sat another little girl, and I was talking to her. She wasn’t anyone I knew; in fact, I wasn’t quite sure what she was doing in my house. She was close to my age. My mom heard me talking to her and came in to see what was going on.
“I’m talking to the little girl, mama, the one that’s right here under the table with me,” I said, but when I turned to look she was no longer there. My mom’s eyes grew wide as she sat me down and asked more questions. I didn’t really know what the big deal was, I think I just knew that she was from some other life. My mom called my dad in a panic, then they spent the next hour going through the house looking for her. They never found anything, but I’ve always remembered that little girl.