I can still remember the uneven flight of stairs leading up to the porch, and the wall, built in stone and mortar, on either side of the entrance door. I recall two rooms, which at the time seemed incredibly huge to me: one for my grandmother, the other for my parents and me. The interior is kind of blank in my mind, except for three things: My parents’ bed, upon which I would roll from side to side and back again with boundless joy; an old chandelier hanging from the center of the ceiling, its yellow glass candles peppered with dust; and the frightening spider webs up above, right there in the corners.
By the time I was three, my father’s car had the good fortune of breaking down. She was the same age as my mother – twenty two – which for a car is a somewhat dangerous prospect. He was thankful to her, to the car I mean, for she had given him an extremely drawn out mileage – not so much in actual driving but rather in adventures. For hours on end he would spin out his tales: how he backed, accidentally, into a yard, flipped over right through the wooden fence and nearly crushed into the main entrance; how people would run for their lives whenever they saw him dodging ahead towards them; how the cops would give chase, shaking their fist at him; and how he managed, by the narrowest of escapes, to avoid them.
Other children had a sandbox or a slide in their backyard. But I had something far superior: His car! Her original color, by that time, was a matter of pure guess. Half buried in dirt, rusting in places, and with no tires to speak of, she rested in the center of the yard amidst tall weeds. I would climb into the driver seat and reach up to the steering wheel. A mouse would sneak, on occasion, right around the hinges of the missing door, but not even that could rattle me out of my fancy: I imagined driving – no, flying – off to faraway places, quite beyond the confines of the yard.
Flying back to the interior of that car, through the tunnel of time, I can see the weeds penetrating the interior of that car, and on its wall, right behind the stick shift, a figure I must have scribbled back then.
(Charcoal on Paper Drawing by Uvi Poznansky)