I hear tell that the house is still there, still standing like. Leastways I heard that was the truth of it a few years ago from a sickly ginger-headed woman who had been passing the little cove. Said it was “the sweetest little shack she ever did see, and she didn’t mind who knew it”.
I still miss the place, the way I miss cigarettes. I forget for a time and then wish I was right back there, feeling good, feeling human again they way I used to feel.
The days when you are a teenager and the hormones are fighting and kicking their way around your body and for the first time (and perhaps the only time) you feel alive – I mean really alive. Music blows your brains out, the thought of nakedness makes your tongue run drier than a desert and you stutter and fret over the smallest of things. Then some days you feel as if you are standing taller than a mountain, I kid you not and you feel you could take on the world. Then someone sounds a whistle and your hormones go touring around your blood stream again and you are lost, good and simple. Tempers and anger and you don’t have the slightest clue why – just that it’s good to shout at someone, anyone.
Those were the years when I knew that house. The lost years, the days of wine and roses when Ma painted flowers and Pa would go missing for weeks at a time.
Crazed Boy was one of my friends, heck who am I kidding? He was my only friend, still is – in that I carry the stone he gave me just before he went to ‘Nam and never came back. He turned me on to dirty music, black music my Gran called it, but we never listened to the elders – we just rocked and rolled until the sun came down and even then we’d light a fire on the beach and keep going sometimes until the morning.
When I think of that house, when I think of those years, I can still smell the ozone that drifted in off the sea and somehow kept me company. Everything smelled of the sea and you only really noticed that fact when you drifted into town and things started to smell of smoke.
Those were the electric years, the times when I felt that I had a million volts wired to my spine and I tell you what – I would give anything to feel that way again.
No one lived in the place for years afterwards. Some say it was haunted but I remember I drifted down that way one November, a couple of years later – it was easy to break in – and I saw that some of the Pastor’s blood sparkled on the walls. Even after all that time.
Boy who would have thought that one head full of blood would have made such a mess? He put the gun under his chin and told me and my Ma that he thought God had given up on him and then he splattered his head right across the gramophone and our only two books: one of them ironically being the Bible.
Apparently he was now in a better place, when I asked was that Detroit, my Ma slapped me so hard that my head bounced off the wall and I wasn’t sure if the blood was mine or the Pastor’s. She apologized later but said I had a way of talkin’ that got folks crazy like. I wondered if maybe I had made the Pastor shoot himself in the head.
It wasn’t long after that things started to go wrong with the family. Like we had been cursed by the shooting. My Ma died of a weak heart – so the Doctor said. My father was jailed for robbing a drug store in Woko County. My brother and I were taken into care and then we were split up. I never did see my brother again. I have been told that he made it good in the oil down in Texas. I hope that’s true, I really do. So if you happen to walk down by the cove some empty sunny day, and you see the house, just keeping on walking. It ain’t healthy to stick around.
bobby stevenson 2017