Aanyhow our house was near the lakeand the beachand

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AAnyhow,, our house was near the lake–and the ""beach""–and my sister and IIhad kept it after our mother died because II guess we hoped it might beworth something someday.. TTo be honest,, II didn''t have the stomach to sell it..NNow II walked toward that house with my back hunched like a fugitive..II had left the scene of an accident and surely someone had discovered thecar,, the truck,, the smashed billboard,, the gun.. II was aching,, bleeding,, stillhalf--dazed.. II expected to hear police sirens at any moment–all the morereason II should kill myself first..II staggered up the porch steps.. II found the key we kept hidden under aphony rock in a flower box (my sister''s idea).. LLooking over both shoulders,,seeing nothing–no police,, no people,, not a single car coming from eitherdirection–II pushed the door open and went inside..TTHHEE HHOOUUSSEE WWAASS musty,, and there was a faint,, sweet smell of carpetcleaner,, as if someone (the caretaker we paid?) had recently shampooed it.. IIstepped past the hallway closet and the banister we used to slide down askids.. II entered the kitchen,, with its old tile floor and its cherrywoodcabinets.. II opened therefrigerator because II was looking for something alcoholic;; by now this wasa reflex with me..AAnd II stepped back.. TThere was food inside..TTupperware.. LLeftover lasagna.. SSkim milk.. AApple juice.. RRaspberry yogurt..For a fleeting moment,, II wondered if someone had moved in,, a squatter ofsome kind,, and this was now his place,, the price we paid for ignoring it forso long..
II opened a cabinet.. TThere was LLipton tea and a bottle of SSanka.. II openedanother cabinet.. SSugar.. MMorton salt.. PPaprika.. OOregano.. II saw a dish in thesink,, soaking under bubbles.. II lifted it and slowly lowered it,, as if trying toput it back in place..AAnd then II heard something.. IIt came from upstairs.. ""CCharley?"" AAgain..""CCharley?""IIt was my mother''s voice..II ran out the kitchen door,, my fingers wet with soapy water..TTimes II DDid NNot SStand UUp for MMy MMother/ am six years old.. IIt is HHalloween.. TThe school is having its annualHHalloween parade.. AAll the kids will march a few blocks through theneighborhood..""JJust buy him a costume,, "" my father says.. ""TThey have ''em at the five--and--dime..""BBut no,, my mother decides,, since this is my first parade,, she will make me acostume:: the mummy,, my favorite scary character..SShe cuts up white rags and old towels and wraps them around me,, holdingthem in place with safety pins.. TThen she layers the rags with toilet paperand tape.. IIt takes a long time,, but when she is finished,, II look in the mirror..II am a mummy.. II lift my shoulders and sway back and forth..""OOooh,, you''re very scary,, "" my mother says..SShe drives me to school.. WWe start our parade.. TThe more II walk,, the looserthe rags get.. TThen,, about two blocks out,, it begins to rain.. NNext thing IIknow,, the toilet paper is dissolving.. TThe rags droop.. SSoon they fall to myankles,, wrists,, and neck,, and you can see my undershirt and pajamabottoms,, why my mother thought would make better undergarments..

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