“Where are you from?”
Always the weirdest question to answer, maybe because you never really know how to explain your town, or maybe you do, but you’re just afraid. Everyone has stories from their hometown, whether it be about the people, certain places, or the atmosphere itself. So, I’m finally going to answer that question, but were going to have to go on an adventure, you might have fun, you might be miserable, or you might not know how to feel. Either is okay, I promise.
Ever heard of a small place, at the very, very top of the highest mountain. Probably not, because rarely does anyone leave and when they do, they don’t come back. This small, secluded town, home to more feral animals than it does people is called Atravesar. Atravesar is a peculiar town, home to many equally peculiar people. It doesn’t offer much, I mean speaking as if you want to do more than work at the local store. Housing less than 800 people, there is one school for grades K-12, two gas stations, one of them you can even use a debit or credit card because, well, we will get to that, a post office, a grocery store which is known as the, ‘Shop N’ Get Out,’ and of course a police station. Mcdonalds, Dairy Queen, Dominos, you ask?
That’s rich. Drive about 40 miles and maybe you’ll hit one eventually.
I’ve never really sat down and explained to someone how unique this town was, because it’s kind of embarrassing to tell people you’re from a place where credit card machines are a luxury, but there are some interesting, eye opening aspects of this town that I think really need to be explored, or at least made known.
I have very few memories from this place but the ones I do, wowza, I could write a novel.
But the first memory, huh, what an interesting concept. Have you ever really say down and thought about what your first memory is and the details? There is this sort of strange but intriguing phenomenon known as childhood amnesia. Kids can remember events before the age of three, but by the time they are older those autobiographical memories are lost. So, how are we to truly know what our first real memory is, or even if it’s accurate? Good question, we don’t.
Anyway, enough of my tangents, even though, it will probably happen again. Back to the story.
So, my first memory of this rugged, almost abandoned town is when I was just a small bean at the age of seven
We live out in the boonies as some would say. No street lights, and dirt roads with a creek that chases the curvy road all the way into the heard of trees that swallow the houses residing. One day, Sunday if I remember correctly, yes Sunday because my parents always dropped me off after church and went to get the groceries for the week. They would never allow me to go because I would get quite antsy and they prefer me to stay home and let the dogs out. I had strict orders, as my parents were very, ‘by the book’, as some would say.
“Go straight inside. Let the dogs out the backdoor. Let them in when they are done, and then feed them. You are not to leave the house or go anywhere until we get home.”
I had to be back by dark, and even then, when I did go outside, I wasn’t allowed to go far.
I don’t know why they were so afraid. Maybe they just didn’t want me to run away, because believe me, at that time, if I could, I would have.
The trip into town took around 15 minutes, after a week or two I figured out that they would be at the grocery store for around an hour, leaving me alone for an hour a half.
I would sit around and just gaze at the freedom I had for that short time and think of all the things I could do, but I never did anything, until that one day. My parents dropped me off and immediately I sprinted into the house and grabbed my backpack, I packed a few bottles of water, some crackers and a bag of sour cherry’s. I stood on my back porch, amazed at tree line that not only glared at me, but spoke to me. The wind whispered telling me to leap for it. To engage in nature and discover what the world really has to offer. So I did. I took a sturdy stick, batted my way into some uncovered bush and created a path with every step I took. I made myself to a small area, looked as if it had seen life at one point. I called this place, ‘Forevergreen’ because no matter how it looked then and how it will look in the future it will be forever green in my heart and mind. I started to wack through bushes, pick up dead logs and cleared out rocks. I stood in the middle of a space that was silent and empty, filled with nothing but the eager conversations between the elements. I trekked my way home, with a smile on my face and ideas in my brain.
That was the very first memory I can truly remember.
I tell you this story because, Atraversar is a minute town, that really only exist if you allow it to exist.
You have to create a life for yourself, and allow the interaction with the town to flow from your mind. I would ride the school bus every day, for an hour, and count the wooden poles on the left side of the road.
56 wooden poles from my house to the school.
On the way home, I would count the mailboxes on the right side of the road.
12 mailboxes from my house to the school.
This town wasn’t built to entertain, so you entertain yourself.
This town wasn’t built to have a life, so you create your own life, you create your own connections.
I didn’t have many friends, but to be fair, there weren’t many kids my age. There weren’t many kids at all actually, many of the people in town were in their mid-twenty’s at least. My graduating class, a whopping 26.
With 21 years of living in this town, I can tell you every red flowered bush, cross walk, slanted hill covered in freshly mowed grass, and even every single stop light. I say that laughingly because we only have two. But I can also tell you about the stars, and the atmosphere that surrounds. With no main lights blocking the night sky, I often found myself meandering to Forevergreen at odd hours and just admiring. Admiring the beautiful dark sky that housed a billion stars. I would lay for what seemed like hours and would create pictures and wondered to myself if anything or anyone existed out there. Listening to the gossip of the crickets I would close my eyes and let my mind wander.
Atravesar is aged.
Atravesar is meager.
Atravesar is home.