Do you remember the 1990s? When Bill Clinton was President and things were bright. When the general from the Air Force told you about the satellites being destroyed. When the burning debris lit the night red and Angela Murphy wore the dress that crinkled at her thighs. And you carried sparklers by the lake, where your father never wanted you to wade, but he wasn't there, was he?
The 1990s were a lot more fun than now. An earlier time, detail blurred by distance, simplified by your remembered youth, is preferable to now. Before your mother retreated into herself and hardly talked or ate. Before your brother in the army came home from the falling hills with a stare that was almost the same. No one could see anyone in the house. They just saw horizons beyond the walls, at the end of their lives and the end of the 1990s.
Remember when you ran off into the woods with Angela Murphy and you found a piece of a strange chair that had fallen from the sky? There was a gray parachute caught up in the branches of a tree. A man was hanging beneath it. He was dressed like a pilot. The ropes creaked. The woods creaked. Angela climbed up the tree and cut him down with a Swiss Army knife your father gave you. Do you remember that?
He fell limp to the ground, didn't he? For some reason you thought of those model planes in your room. You thought that when you took the man's mask off it would be your father. It wasn't, was it? Who was it? Did you show them what was in the box? Did you touch them with what was in the box? Where are they now?
Tell us. This will be much easier if you just remember the 1990s. Did you touch them with what was in the box?
And after, did you meet with the survivors of the falling hills? Did you show them what was in the box?
Where is it? Where did you put it?
Think...think...about the 1990s. We will try again tomorrow.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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