Allegra Goodman

Allegra Goodman

A weeklong electronic journal.
April 19 1997 3:30 AM

Allegra Goodman

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       Late this afternoon I fell asleep because I was so tired from my trip and all the catching up I've had to do since then. The window was open and it was raining, and as I drifted off I heard a bird calling. I began to dream I was in Hawaii again, in the house where I grew up. The warm, damp spring air, the rain, and the bird all reminded me of Hawaii. As a child I always slept with the windows open and felt the warm breeze. The mynah birds calling to each other woke me each morning.
       But today, when I opened my eyes, I was not in Hawaii. The rain had stopped, and the bird outside my window was a glossy black crow. I wanted to close my eyes again and bring back the dream, and imagine myself back in the house in Niu Valley with its grapefruit and tangerine trees; the big oversexed mango tree that produced hundreds of mangos three times a year. We could never get rid of them all. And all our neighbors had mango trees too. There wasn't a soul on the island needing mangos. I wanted to be there again. I remembered it all so clearly. Every bit of the house and the lanai where we had our Passover Seders, all the china and silver laid out formally in open air. If I were there again, my father would read me stories each night, and my mother would be alive.
       I got up and looked around me and I was grown up, and this was my house. I cleaned up and made phone calls, and worked on clearing my desk. Still, I felt homesick. At last I went out into our tiny city garden. We have one tree, a Japanese maple, and a baby rose bush about a foot high that is meant some day to cascade over the fence, and we have daffodils just starting to open, and a little patch of grass. It is nothing like the garden my parents had. Still, the plants were soaking up the rain; stems and grass blades were turning green.

Allegra Goodman is the author of a novel, The Family Markowitz. She lives in Cambridge, Mass.