My grandmother is dead. The house has been sold. Her table is in my eating area. Her santos have been divided up among the children, remnants in various houses on various shelves. The snails from the backyard are still crawling there. The pebbly driveway as well has held firm. The edging on her lawn has been kept steep and sturdy by the new landscaping crew hired to maintain it. I drive by there sometimes now. Just drive by and look at the outside of the red brick. The tallness of its two stories. I’m told the inside has been completely remodeled. I wouldn’t want to see it. I see pictures of myself as a baby crawling on the clean, cool linoleum floor. It looks like summer, the back kitchen door is propped open in the backyard with a brick. Where is that brick now? It was one of the same bricks used in the backyard on the wavy, uneven patio where we would hunt for those snails. Crawling around on our knees on the moist, mossy bricks hunting for snails and rolie-polies. We’d take salt and shrivel up the snails, imagine them crying out for mercy. The double garage in the back with a small room off to the side for a servant to stay in. My grandmother’s maid would stay there. A tree once fell on the garage. I wonder if Pearlie B was there when it fell. There are pictures of my brother and I with my cousins in the backyard of the house. We are wearing tight, flowery short shorts and wide neck shirts with dainty, too-big cardigans. My mother was going through a phase during which she’d decided to sew our clothes. I have huge John Lennon glasses on. Glasses I lied about my vision to get. I wanted glasses. My eyesight deteriorated and soon I did need them in fact not just in fiction. The windows in the dining room shined they were so clean. My father’s back went out once while we were staying at the house. I remember him screaming as my mother lead him into the bathroom she had used as a child. The books in the study were on built-in shelves and went from mid-level to the ceiling. Below it were cabinets. The attic was dusty and full of mystery, a narrow staircase leading up to it, claustrophobia-inducing smallness opening up at the top into the wonder of this musty space lost the rest of the world. I sat in the study with my grandparents and watched the news with them, the national news with Dan Rather and Robert Macneil. I have the couch that was in my grandfather’s study. It has a spot on one sidearm where the upholstery was almost completely worn through. He would sit on that side and read and he must have grasped that spot and rubbed it quite a bit. The bathroom was full of yellow and orange flowered wallpaper, the glossy, textured kind. The smell of the house is impossible to forget and yet I constantly forget it until, like happened a few years ago, I went over to a friend’s house, a similar home from the same era in Houston, and remarkably the bathroom smelled exactly the same. I sat in the bathroom for a long time and just inhaled, letting in all of the remembrances.

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