Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Sound of The Engine

The metallic rumble of a twin propeller plane went by overhead, the sound streaking across the sky like a single silver streamer.  It reverberated inside as I instantly remembered that far off place, saw a far off me who no longer exists, a memory almost forgotten that still has the power to twist visions into experience.
Hearing it was like looking through an old album, ‘Remember when I used to live there?  Remember when I used to do that?’ The bright sunshine of southern California ignited and I needed my sunglasses.  The water of a crystal clear swimming pool colored me all blue and shiny.  I could jump in naked if I wanted, no one was home. It was me and the sun, with only a furry puppy napping in the sunlight by my side.
The sound of that engine was the tone of another Lydia who lay on a plastic chaise lounge on the wooden deck my father built.  I would be out there for hours, letting the heat melt my skin and turn me brown and freckly.  The girl who closed her eyes and drank in the heat, eventually smelling salty and sweet, for that wind liked to lick away the sweat. 
A moment passed and I remembered that girl in silence. There was no one here to explain it to, no one who could really listen and feel that distant chamber with me, not here- the market was bustling and even I would soon need to forget. I tucked it away until later, when a door would open and the chamber could then be explored.

‘I worship the sun’ I used to say.

The palm trees in the backyard swayed back and forth gently.  They were thick trunks that provided a wide canopy, beneath which we would sometimes eat in the summer. My mom would carry out a skillet of fish my dad made, I would bring out a wide salad bowl and Blackstar would sit at our feet looking for crumbs. In August the coyotes would run down from the hills and howl in the fields behind our fence, the puppy would run to howl at the fence and call back to them.
Mostly I would be out there in the sun, alone.  The sound of the plane’s engines was always there, streaking by every hour.  A small airport was just a few miles away on Benson Avenue, if I opened my eyes and looked up I could see their little metal bodies in the sky.  They left trails of white across the blue canvas which soon the wind would muddle and shift and eventually erase.

That girl laying in the sun never thought things would change, she never thought that she would turn from a sun-worshipper into the sweater-garbed woman who now walks through eternal fog. 
But everything does change. I do not miss that girl. She is a curiosity, forever warm, forever surrounded by golden light, Blackstar at her side.  Now the heat burns my skin from the inside out, like a chicken in a microwave. I retreat into the shade, seeking shelter like so many other vampires.
But when I hear that sound, familiarity attached to a past so distant, it is blue and bright, it is the quiet noise of a girl basking under the sun.