Epiphanies

Carpet Ride

(A version of this story just won an award from Central Oregon Writer’s Guild 2020 for creative non-fiction) As I pull in the circular driveway of my parent’s house for the last time, the blown speakers on the rental car radio crackle out Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride. A dumpster filled with recently removed carpet blocks my path around, the same brown shag carpet from my teen years. The undersides appear ash gray, loosely stacked rolls poised to unfurl at me like someone I once walked on. My stepfather built the long, low ranch-style house in the early 70s when wall-to-wall carpet was the new trend. We moved from the city ten miles away to the foothills of Fallbrook, beneath the Sleeping Indian that gave our street its name. It’s horse property, Mother said, trying to lure me away from everything familiar as high school started. Once the house was finished,…

Are You My Mother?

The Unexpected Cheese-white cheddar laced with parmesan- is the sample offering at Trader Joe’s as I run in to get a few groceries before heading back for my daughter at ice skating. I take one, happy to see it’s finger food. All their samples can be finger food, even the slaws and salads, eaten in a few bites without the plastic-wrapped-plastic-fork, but then you need a napkin. I add the cheese to my cart, then turn back for the coffee sample, wishing I had my double-wall espresso cup in my bag, but I’ve gotten careless. A slender lady in a tailored gray wool coat is taking her time getting coffee, adding cream, stirring, tasting. Her cart is pulled across the sampling space and people are starting to line up. I move to one side of her, slip around to nab a tiny cup. She looks at me, then steps back…

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