Journal: March 9, 2010

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I lived in Carpinteria once. My dad moved around, and since I lived with him on weekends, I got to move with him eight days a month. Roughly.
There was a house in the back woods of Carp where we had to drive down a long dirt road and cross a stream to even get there, and cut our own wood to put in the stove to heat it. I liked it there best in the winter because the smell of the burning wood would fill the house and Dad, his girlfriend, my little sister, and I would lay on the ground playing games, making music, and watching movies for hours. Sometimes the rain would fall very hard and the creek would overflow so we couldn't get out for days. That was a nice place.
There was a house in Montecito, in the mountains. It had a deck and a room made out of glass windows. There was a pool on the deck. When you pushed a button on the side, fountains would go off in shimmering criss-crosses all down the length of the pool, which was long and grey and smooth. I slept on a pull-out couch across from the big glass wall where a sliding door would lead out to the deck. At night, I would stay up for hours watching the oil derricks out there on the ocean, ablaze like great flames in the black candle of night. There were avocado trees. We could pick the avocado in the summertime and eat them right off the trees, brown legs dangling over the edge of the deck, over the precipice of what was my empire. My favorite part about that house was the deck, where I stood in the smallness of my first double-digit years and could feel like a summertime earth queen, surveying what was then my universe. That was a nice place too.
But my favorite house we lived in was in Carpinteria again, this time right up close to the ocean. It was small and had blue sides, with brown tiles on the floor and no carpeting. It was very very very small, with one bedroom, one living room with a tiny kitchen and a small bathroom. The bathroom had a deep tub with wide sides. I put candles and incense on the sides and bathed in cold water, dumping salt in so it would feel like the ocean and I could be the mermaid I knew I was. The roof was brown tile, and the outside walls were low and white stucco. The front yard was almost as large as the house, tiny as it was. The bedroom's french doors faced the front, as did the main door. We never locked either, and the windows were always open. I remember laying on the bed (king-size, taking up nearly the whole bedroom, covered in a brown blanket that was soft and filled with down) and looking out the french doors, wide open to let the breeze in, and watching the long white curtains flutter while outside, the warm summer sun shone on the surfers walking down to the beach. Our two cats ran about constantly, in and out, round and round the small home until I'd catch one of them up in my arms and rub my nose into her silken fur, dirty with the sand and warm with sun until she would protest loudly and bite my shoulder softly. I slept on the floor, on some pillows from the pull-out couch that my little sister slept on, watching the moon from the open front window and trying to touch the night with my bare freckled skin. My hair turned blond and was never neat, and my skin tanned easily, consistently naked feet slapping the sidewalk on the way to the sea. Out of all the houses we lived in, this was the nicest.





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