My husband, my brother and I are in Lake Tahoe. Eating and driving around, checking out the local cuisine, many of which are swiss chalet style buildings. As we head back towards the Bay Area I notice that the lake is considerably smaller than I remember it, and nestled in a gentle green valley rather than the craggy mountain crater of my memory. I am disappointed.
My brother and I are revisiting our childhood home. It is overrun and abandoned. He’s clearing out some of the garbage in his room while I check out mine. The wallpaper is the same, my mother made the mistake of letting a five year old (me) pick the wallpaper and I was stuck with it til I was fourteen. It looked like Peter Max had vomited up a potpourri of red and pink vaginal flowers. There is a huge dark water stain on the white ceiling on one side, and on the other a black mildew is seeping down into the wallpaper, leaving long dark stains at the seams. I call for my brother to come look at it. He grabs a peeling corner and pulls it off, taking with it crumbling bits of mouldy plaster and splintered wood. It is filled with maggots and flies start swarming out of the rotten hole in the wall.
My husband, my brother and I check out a little shop front in Albany that my brother is going to turn into a BBQ joint. It is entirely lined with chrome, and most suitable for the purpose. We return home to my Grandmother’s house to celebrate.
Everyone is in the upstairs bedrooms when it starts to rain outside. I go downstairs to the back porch to watch the rain. The back is the way it was when I was very little, before they built the deck, and the stairs run onto a small patch of lawn that fronts the tangly jungle-like garden. The rain starts coming down in sheets and from the porch I can see a large double rainbow stretching over San Pablo Avenue. One rainbow is white, the other is hued. I hear a noise and look down to see our pet peacock lumbering across the lawn, and I marvel that his tail is so long and bushy. Suddenly another peacock lands on a picnic table in the garden, around his neck is tied a rope and the frayed end trails behind him. He calls and spreads his tail into a giant emerald fan, something I’ve never seen our peacock do. Then two or three large roosters shimmy up from behind the apple tree and a baby elephant comes from around the side of the house. I keep wondering if the baby elephant is going to pee buckets.
I begin to call for everyone to come down, “Come quick! Come quick!” By then there are bobcats and toads joining the other animals. My husband and my brother join me just as the other animals disappear into the forest of the garden, but the peacock with the rope around its neck lands in front of me lowers his head to my feet. I am frustrated as there was another person in the house but they were stubborn and wouldn’t come down, they were trying to keep their dogs in the house. I say something nasty and sarcastic and quickly apologize as they weren’t trying to be a spoil sport, they thought they were probably doing the right thing by keeping their dogs out of the garden. I can’t remember who that person was.
The universe is uncanny.