The cache

When I was a kid in Fairbanks, growing up, we had a meat cache in our front yard.  It was a little log structure up on stilts. In the bush, people would have stored meat in them, and sometimes we did that.  But mostly, it was mine.

 It had a window in it, something you wouldn’t find in a standard cache.  One of my older sister’s boyfriends, Bill Zito, had built it there on a whim.  I still think it was the coolest retreat that ever existed.  There was a long ladder up to it, and then a little platform of logs.  The logs were all rounded, all cotton wood, not planed down or anything.  The bark was still on them to start with.  Then I could crawl into the little house there. There was a window in one wall. 

And that was all.  I think it was about six foot by six foot inside the little cabin.  In summers, I’d drag a mummy bag up there and sleep on the lumpy log floor. I read The Lord of the Rings up there.  Hid from doing the dishes when it was my turn.  Thought a lot about all the boys who didn’t have crushes on me.

Snapshot.  I’m up there on a summer afternoon, reading, and I hear the sound I’m really hoping to hear. Honda 90 coming down the gravel lane from Davis Road to my folk’s house.  It’s Steve, I think, and my heart leaps.  He’s my first real boyfriend.  It’s  that leap of heart moment, knowing that someone likes me enough to come all that way from town out to where I live to see me.  And when I look out, he has Steve Matthews with him. And that’s a sideways leap of the heart, because although Matthews is Steve’s best friend, I’m doing my best to steal him and make him my best friend.  He’s the one I remember more clearly now, blue eyes, hair falling across his brow, his ridiculous laugh.  His cat was named Bouncer.  His dad always made him do his chores before he could leave his house and hang out with us, so we always pitched in and helped so he could get out of there faster.

1967.  Summer between my sophomore and junior years.  Before the oil pipeline in Alaska.

Wish I still had that cache. Wish there was still a place where I could call "Kings X" for the entire world.

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