1970's Late Afternoon

I have the taste of Zoloft in my mouth. I have to chew it because I never learned to swallow pills. I don't really chew it, just break it up a little with my teeth. But sometimes I let it linger in my mouth too long before I swallow and it leaves my mouth feeling sort of numb. I did that this morning.

I'm thinking of the apartment my Aunt used to live in during the 1970's. The sound of the Clientele reminds me of that place. It was a red brick apartment with hardwood floors in an old neighborhood lined with Oak trees. Every thing was green, maroon and brown back then. I remember the place as dusty and dimly lit, shadows on the floor, through the curtains in the front room. The dresser was crammed with old photographs and letters. My Aunt had a bird she called Andrew that flew around the apartment. Feathers and birdseed were always on the floor. It smelled like old books there, I like that smell. When people say something feels lived in, well that's what it felt like there.

I'd go sleep over sometimes on weekends. I was probably 6 or 7 years old. In my memory the area resembles the suburbs of Portland as seen in Drugstore Cowboy. There was a drugstore near by where I would buy comic books. I miss those drugstores, the chain stores that have replaced them aren't the same.

I lived in my head almost exclusively as a child. I liked it there. The Clientele reminds me of those times, a foggy, melancholy, warm feeling. I miss the sense of unreality everything held back then. There was an immediacy and strangeness to all sensations. One day my Grandmother and I heard a ghost in my mother's closet. One night driving home in my parents' station wagon I saw a witch in the sky riding in a red toy wagon. I can't remember now if I was sleeping, it seemed as real as anything else. Things bled over more then. The line of demarcation between my dreams and waking reality was not well defined. I miss that.

My Aunt drove a Mercury Cougar. I remember riding in my Aunt's Cougar, drinking a 7-11 slurpee on hot, humid summer afternoons in Houston. I fed ducks in the park with my Grandmother. I miss my Grandmother, she passed away two and a half years ago. I've always been prone to melancholy, it's an easy emotion to get lost in. It's an easy emotion to feel. This is self-indulgent, but it feels nice, so does the sound of the Clientele.

© William Crain 2002