(I originally posted pictures of Sam’s bedroom but he got real mad, accused me of invading his privacy, his “safe place.” I deleted them, although there are only about half a dozen people likely to see them even if I left them up. It’s not as if tout le monde was gawking at his stuff and laughing at him for being a nerd.)
Sam and his mother puttered in the garden this morning and I hung out in Sam’s bedroom. I stepped onto the small futon-hanger balcony to take these pictures and hit my head on the roof and cursed and as I went back in noticed the next door neighbor watching me. They have a nice covered outdoor table and hang out there all the time. They’re a lot quieter this year: last year there was a new puppy and a new baby. Wailing, squealing, and barking floated across the hedge at all hours. They also have a vegetable garden, I’m jealous. Sam’s mother doesn’t enjoy sitting outside and tolerates it only for barbecues, then only for a short time. She likes to hang out in the kitchen. She plants a couple of tomato plants in the spring and that’s it, although her backyard is twice as big as the neighbors’.
Sam has an extensive record collection that takes up half the room, leaving just enough space for our two futons. The futons are old and hard and Sam steals the small blankets in his sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night because I’m cold due to the blanket theft and then have to go to the bathroom, but I’m scared of the dark old house, the walls creak spookily and I think about my father-in-law’s ghost. The pillows are those hard Japanese ones filled with husks or chaff or whatever it is. I wake up with my head in an odd position and stiff shoulders. I’m achy from the hard floor and pillow and feel as old as my mother-in-law. Two framed documents from Sam’s school days hang on the wall, one for being Mr. Healthy Teeth and I forget what the other is. The walls are so poorly made that you can see daylight between the fake wood panels in some places.
Sam starts in about remodeling the house or tearing it down to build a new one, but that seems like a tremendous amount of money to spend. I don’t think Sam’s mother wants any changes but it’s impossible to know, she doesn’t talk much. This morning Sam was going to the home center and I told him to ask if his mother wanted to go instead of me (only two seats in the fancy sports car). When she saw that Sam was going alone she hurried to tell him she wanted to go after all. It’s hard to get her to admit when she wants something. Exactly like my mother.
The siren goes off at noon. Birds are singing and I hear frogs from the rice paddies. The mountains and hills are beautiful, every shade of green. Silver-gray-greens, flashy bright light green, the regular green of the bamboo, dark cedars. Late cherries and mountain azaleas dot the hills in pink and purple patches. It looks like rain and the air is cool and fresh. I think I should go and hang out in the garden with Sam for awhile. He’s wearing a pair of Levi’s my father gave him and both my and his father loved gardens. Would everybody please stop reminding me of someone else?