Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fort

On my grandfather's ranch there are a bunch of barns. Sometimes horses are boarded there, and some of them are used for storage. In the biggest barn there is a ladder into a closed-off part of loft. The entrance at the top of the ladder is a barn door that opens from the top and the bottom. Inside, my brother and I had made a fort. "Home Sweet Home" was written in chalk on the wall, and we had some ropes and slingshots up there.

After a long absence from California, when I was around thirteen and my brother was ten, my family came to visit my grandparents. My brother was chasing me for some reason, and I ran to the barn. I knew I could climb the ladder faster than him. So I scurried up. The door had been left open since our last visit. I grabbed the bottom half and swung it closed. Happy at my victory, I leaned out of the top part of the door to mock my brother. The door was moving.

During our absence, hundreds of small bats had made their nest between the open door and the barn. The bats, being disoriented from the light, began flying in all directions--most notably upward, into my face.

Soon after this experience, maybe in that moment, I outgrew the fort in the loft.