Creaky Porch, Creaky Life
The cold of the night would soon arrive. I could feel it in my bones. Not, mind you, because of what I heard. Don’t trust the people around here. Don’t trust nobody. Power cut off first thing in the morning. Couldn’t even warm up my tin cup for a cup of coffee.
I guess you could call me a squatter. But then, nobody seemed to notice or mind me down the dead end road of an old trailer park. Somehow I felt more connected than the trailer people. After all, I inhabited a house, something stuck on the ground. This frame house, even if someone wanted to move it, would immediately fall apart. As it was, the floorboards creaked or were broken, the porch covered with vines and twigs. I could not step on it for fear of breaking the mildew and mold covered boards and end up with a broken leg.
At this point, I had to be most careful. Could not afford to get hurt so as to need help. Whoever first built this bungalow (for it must have at one time been a fine place) had to be the independent sort. He probably got tired of some fussy, rigid community and decided to homestead in the woods down south, where land was cheap and there were lots of pinewoods for timber.
I knew nothing of woodwork, but guessed this place had been put together with skill. A lot of tropic storms, heat, humidity and every enemy known to wood beat and battered this shack to submission. Mostly, though, it was time.
Yeah, time. It sure worked against me, too. I wondered if the man who built this house died here, cried here, was chased out by Indians, nasty neighbors, the law? Maybe his wife died and he couldn’t handle the memories. Maybe he looked at the rocking chair, the cupboard, the iron pans, the rag rugs, maybe those reminders sent him over the brink. Maybe he got so depressed, he just walked off the porch, and kept going, never looking back.
Depressed. Yeah, that’s me. Hate the cold, too. No coffee, no heat today. Not even the crackle of the radio. Sounds carry easily in this woodsy place. The trailer people are a bit noisy, if you know what I mean. Heard somebody holler about it going down to freezing tonight. Didn’t believe it because up to now the weather had been pretty mild. Never trust people, what they tell you. When the wind is from the East, I hear their voices from the outdoor area where they sit around and talk.
One man, a young one, insisted the old woman down aways kept his dog for a week. Later, the old woman came over there and said she watched him for a day, not even overnight. Don’t believe neither of them. Why should I? In this world, can’t trust nobody. Here I am in a run down old house, tiptoeing around, pushing cobwebs aside. That’s where life has got me. I’d feel better if I had some warm coffee, but that’s not going to happen now.
Yeah, it’s gonna be cold allright.. I can feel it in my bones. Not because some smart alecks said it would. Attitude? Do I have a bad one? I suppose so. Who cares, anyways? Don’t make no difference. Nobody around to notice.
Wait a minute, ain’t there a hole in the ceiling, between those rough boards and beams? Never know what could be in an attic. Let me drag that steamer trunk over there and take a look.
By golly, it feels kinda warm up here. It’s hard to see. Wait a minute. Here’s a pile of something soft. Hey, a quilt. A bunch of quilts. Thank you whoever you are. Thank you maam. Thank you. How did you know it was gonna be cold tonight? Was that your picture on the little side table? Kinda serious, kinda sweet, though.
Lying on the floor with them quilts on me, it ain’t so bad. Smells a bit like flowers or something. Wonder what it’s like to have someone care for you. Someone who would make a quilt?
Anyhow, I’m all set for the night. Not such a bad day after all.