On my way to my parents’ house, I passed a house where my childhood best friend’s husband grew up. It’s a square cinderblock house, the kind where one side of the block is coated with ceramic asbestos paint. It’s a terrible puke-mint-green color with a white door, no shutters, and no shrubbery. It looks somehow naked without those things.
He hated the house, called it The Cracker Box both because it was the approximate size of a cracker box and because many people in the small, conservative community considered him and his *gasp* divorced mother to be white trash. His mother is a first rate Hell-bitch. She once broke her ring and pinkie fingers by slapping him with her rings turned so that the stones were inside her palm. He came to homeroom bleeding from three cuts on his chin and laughed when I told him. She was mean and tough but had to be. She had a strong-willed boy to raise with no help from family. She refused all government aid.
She waited until after he graduated from high school to marry her long-time “boyfriend.” When she did, she moved out to his lakehouse and sold The Cracker Box. It’s now Don’s Pawn Shop. A large fluorescent sign with a giant pistol on top pokes out of the lawn to let potential customers know that cash for Christmas is only a sale away. It’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. Someone I cared about lived there, grew up there, lost his virginity there, and now there’s is a giant pistol on top of a sign in the front yard. Strange.