home was a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the San Fernando Valley. Reseda, California, to be exact. I lived there with my parents and little sister Dawn, who was between 7 and 8 at the time. It was a step up from our last place where my parents slept in the living room so we could have the bedroom, though I suppose I could say it was a step to the side. We had moved there from the building next door.
Instead of facing the hellish West, our main windows in the new place looked to the North and kept it cooler during the oven-like summers. The pool was our garden. Sometimes pretty flowers grew there, but more often it was cigarette butts that sprouted. Despite the smoke, the pool is what I miss most about that place. Astrologically and quasi-literally, once a Fish, always a Fish.
We had a patio, but didn’t use it much. Our neighbors tended to be on the loud side, and didn’t understand that not only were the walls thin, but open windows let everyone into your business. We had no desire to know what their business was, especially in the wee hours so we would sometimes yell out the window for them to be quiet.
I was in junior high school, and had just discovered New Kids on The Block. You can only imagine what my “wallpaper” was. I say “my,” but in reality it was “ours” given I shared the room with my sister. She had the same love for them as I did though, and my decorating desires were shared by her — or at the least, she wanted to please her older sister and didn’t say no. We had bunk beds at one point, but here the beds were separated and we slept side-by-side. Chotchke-filled shadow boxes hung on the walls, seemingly innocuous. Only during the Northridge quake 6 years later, would my sister find out how they could be used as tools of torture. Picture it, miniatures splayed across a carpeted, violently gyrating floor like spikes in the grass. Her hands and knees were not fans.
I had more reasons than the usual to be a broody teenage girl — my parents didn’t get along and hadn’t been copacetic for a while. My mother passive, my father aggressive. My sister and I, in between. It’s no surprise then, when I say I spent a lot of time in that room, listening to music on my boombox, writing down song lyrics from memory in a little notebook I kept by my bed, waiting for one of the Knight brothers to rescue me. Unfortunately, that never happened…