A road ribboned through her memory. As if on a map, there was no sign of where the land rose or fell, of where an engine or a desire was needed to press upward. Her roadmap ran through a flatland, perhaps even a desert. But in her mind she painted it blue like water and she sat to one side to ponder its significance.
I have a recurrent dream, she thought.
I am driving down from my parents´ home in upstate New York to the university town where I am living. What route do I take? I don’t remember. But I go down along the lake and pass though a town that has a street sweeping almost full-circle around a hill. As I drive past I look up to the top, to the old brick buildings and clapboard houses from the beginning of the century. Some of them have long flights of wooden stairs spilling down the hill and they seem to be inns or old-style general stores. But I do not stop, as if I were superstitious about taking a detour and losing my way. I love this dream. And I am still not convinced that it is wholly made up. The basic scenery and situation are too familiar to me. I ride past. I feel the seduction of the shops and taverns on the hill. This is a place in my memory and in the history of the country.
And it is time for a roll call.
I remember: the lawyer’s son, with glasses and satchel, the ballet teacher’s boy with an English accent, the girl who wore a brace on her right leg because she had had polio before there was a vaccine, the tall brown-skinned boy with the first Mohawk I had ever seen, the girl from an Italian family with a Spanish surname, the girl with the big, emerald-green front lawn, the girl with a name from the French explorers, a boy whose ancestors were Dutch fur traders… the girl with a name from the Mayflower… I didn’t realize it but I made up stories about them and thought of them all as a kind of community.
And I might move, even go to live in another country, but they came with me.