They said the big rock came from outer space.
They said one night in the ’70s Auntie Em woke up in a hair net to rumblings. Uncle Sho went out looking, and the boys went too. They said where it sat was where it landed—square center of the biggest macnut orchard on the property. They said they could hear it hiss, like the inside of a teapot, and that the earth all around was pulsing with heat, you could see it, yellow and orange in the dirt. Eventually they went back inside, and I guess no one bothered with it after that.
We load up in the truck every new year. It’s the same truck that saw the big rock land, you can tell by the chunks of missing seat cushion, the rust in the bed. Uncle Sho starts the engine at least five times and makes a joke that it’s ’cause of all us kids in the back. Every year. We tear through the back orchard. The way is bumpy—there’s never any road, the jungle soaks up any traces of us it finds. I always liked that. On the way we make bets on who can see a wild pig—we’re too boisterous, no one ever does.
We get to the macnut orchard and Uncle Sho stops the truck and we stop and we listen to the story we’ve already heard, but we’ve grown welcome to the repetition. And we jump out the back and press our hands to the big rock and some of us say we can still feel the heat that it came with, but some of us are liars.
Em and Sho’s little house smells like mildew, but so does everything and we’ve come to like it. Nothing here is made of just one piece, the roof collects itself in rusty tin slabs, the chicken hutch is a frankenstein of wooden extras. The house is the same, and the chickens walk freely into that, too.