It was brick, red I am told. on a quiet street not far from 16th Street and its traffic. It was small, but a good home for a couple with a child or two in the heart of the District.
I have no recollection of it, save the tile, black and white in the bathroom, the radiator on which I hit my head, and the front stoop, and that only in the picture of me in his arms, my father, the man who adopted me and later a baby girl, then dropped dead one morning of a massive coronary. I have no recollection of him, of the sister taken away, or the house, but I mourn then all.
As a child, I could never understand why, when I knew that it ws time to go, my parents were never ready, always needed one or two more things; and why en route, we were never quite there even though I had waited the ten minutes more they said it would take.
But I had nothing on my beloved dog Mindy, who would stand by the back door, leash in moth and growl, wondering, no doubt why I always need more time, it wasn’t, she was certain, because shoes were necessary, or a rain jacket, she got by just fine without them, and why my last bathroom stop had to take precedence over hers would always be beyond comprehension.
Each morning I drag myself from bed, slowly engage my legs, and amble into the bathroom where I peer into the mirror. Each morning I am surprised that I am the same as I was they day before, and yet the mirror by all appearances, has grown another day older. It is, I suppose, the nature of mirrors to age, sadly for them, and as I turn away each morning I wish the mirror a good day, certain that it cannot help but mourn its ever increasing age.
The spider wandered around the corner of the ceiling and wall of the bathroom, one she called a daddy longlegs, although most spiders of my acquaintance have rather long legs using my proportions as a basis for comparison, and it was my task to deal with it.
It was harmless, as are most of his species, and I searched for a way to give him and give us our freedom, here perhaps, a reality, since it is no colder without than within, although the birds in our wetlands might have other ideas about the spider’s impermanence.
I paused, considered the options, and knew this koan would not be answered this day, and I bid my octoped friend farewell, but suggested he consider not trying to bring me into his web.
It is an admittedly odd sign of my age that I recall clearly when bathrooms were tiled mostly in monochrome, black and white, and it was a mark of quality when each tile was hexagonal, a hive of ceramic cells, impenetrable.
Now tiles are square or rectangular, come in a rainbow of colors, often intermixed to achieve looks unimaginable back in my youth, and walls a painted with any color you can imagine, not the eighteen shades of white from which my parents had the choice for our new house.
But change can be for the better, and in proof of that you need only look around and see that bathroom fixtures are mostly white, occasionally black, not sickly green or peach, and, thank the gods, no one has avocado appliance these days.