The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Bilocation or returning home

Rachael Conlin Levy
Familiar hills surround Silver Springs, Nevada.
  1. The supposed phenomenon of being in two places simultaneously.
I’m thinking about home, about going home to the desert where a small trailer sits anchored in the sand and bleached by the sun. The wind has blasted off paint, exposing metal that twinkles dully like a dime on the sidewalk. I pick up the dime, rub away the dust and look for the year. It is 1980.

I place my hand on a splintered railing and climb a set of steps that lead to the trailer’s front door. I’m careful to avoid the nails protruding from the old planks held together by hammer and story. This is where my sister tumbled down and deadened her front teeth. And this crack between step and trailer was where the coyote-clawed cat hid, died and wasn’t found for a month.

I step inside, onto vinyl flooring whose brick pattern is patchy and in some places worn clean away by years of sand ground into it. Like those trails that cut through grass and ignore sidewalk, a serpentine path is etched into the floor beginning at the front door and winding its way between kitchen table and stove before veering left and disappearing down the hall. Here more stories lurk. Stories held in the books lined up on hall shelves, and stories held in my mind.


But I don’t walk down the hall. Instead, I sit at the oval kitchen table that also shows signs of wear. The wood veneer is yellowed and faded where plates are set daily. Within arms reach of the table is the counter and drawers, which open stubbornly and if yanked too hard will tumble out and send forks, spoons and knives clattering to the floor. At this table, I’d meet my mom for late night cups of cocoa and towers of buttered toast. I’d wake and wander into the kitchen, perch on a chair with knees drawn up to my chest and my flannel nightgown tented around me. As I’d dunk toast, we’d talk. Then with a stomach full and warm, I’d wander back to bed. I don’t sleep, but lay looking out the window at the stars and the dusty line of the Milky Way. A meteor burns across the darkness.

In her mother’s house.

Seven hundred miles and thirty years away, my own daughter and I are sharing hot chocolate and  nighttime conversation as we drive home from a meeting. It is a moment of bilocation between mother and daughter, everything at once familiar and foreign, like when I return to the desert. The trailer is still cemented in sand, but the insides are gutted, table and floor have been replaced, dark walls are painted light. I am a different mother and she a different daughter than what my own mother and I shared, but still we’re here, together, wrapped in the night. She leans her head against the car window. Outside, a star gleams dull as a dime then falls from the sky.

3 responses to “Bilocation or returning home”

  1. Linda says:

    I look forward to your visit, Rachael. I will have toast and hot cocoa waiting for you.

  2. Andrea says:

    So lovely…I can see and feel that kitchen, the desert.

  3. You're coming home soon! I'm so excited!

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