Shame

The basement of the church smelled of natural gas and mildew.  It smelled of dust and grease and the memories of thick perfume.  The air dripped with sadness.  Thick poles propped up the ceiling where it sagged and Opal wondered who propped up those left behind when somebody died.  Before her, neat rows of tables were covered with white plastic cloths and grimy gold salt and pepper shakers. 
Della the stalwart bustled across the floor, soundless sensible shoes betraying nothing, her flowered dress bunching up about her middle.  “I’ll take that for you,” she said, matter-of-factly grabbing the hem of her dress and yanking it down before taking the platter —a memory of her time in San Francisco—from her hands.
Della lifted the foil and sniffed suspiciously.  “What is it?”
“Dim sum.  I made it myself,” Opal said, wanting to please.
Della raised her eyebrows.  “Come on,” she said and made her way to the buffet table overflowing with gelatin salads, tuna noodle casserole and meatloaf blanketed beneath thick slices of uncooked bacon.
Opal lagged behind, questioning her spike heels and the silk of her dress; questioning the dim sum and the fancy hand-painted platter.  There were farmers gathered here.  And farmers came to the table hungry for nourishment, not aesthetics.  What the city considered beautiful the country found trivial.  The country had no time for trivialities.
She sighed and slipped her diamond bracelet from her wrist.  The town would shame her into conformity, just as the people of the city had so many years ago.
This post was written in response to this week's Trifecta Challenge word: Shame.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Shame

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shame

The basement of the church smelled of natural gas and mildew.  It smelled of dust and grease and the memories of thick perfume.  The air dripped with sadness.  Thick poles propped up the ceiling where it sagged and Opal wondered who propped up those left behind when somebody died.  Before her, neat rows of tables were covered with white plastic cloths and grimy gold salt and pepper shakers. 
Della the stalwart bustled across the floor, soundless sensible shoes betraying nothing, her flowered dress bunching up about her middle.  “I’ll take that for you,” she said, matter-of-factly grabbing the hem of her dress and yanking it down before taking the platter —a memory of her time in San Francisco—from her hands.
Della lifted the foil and sniffed suspiciously.  “What is it?”
“Dim sum.  I made it myself,” Opal said, wanting to please.
Della raised her eyebrows.  “Come on,” she said and made her way to the buffet table overflowing with gelatin salads, tuna noodle casserole and meatloaf blanketed beneath thick slices of uncooked bacon.
Opal lagged behind, questioning her spike heels and the silk of her dress; questioning the dim sum and the fancy hand-painted platter.  There were farmers gathered here.  And farmers came to the table hungry for nourishment, not aesthetics.  What the city considered beautiful the country found trivial.  The country had no time for trivialities.
She sighed and slipped her diamond bracelet from her wrist.  The town would shame her into conformity, just as the people of the city had so many years ago.
This post was written in response to this week's Trifecta Challenge word: Shame.

Labels:

12 Comments:

At December 15, 2011 at 8:06 PM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

Beautiful! I learned a great deal about Opal in a short timespan - even her name speaks of opulence and iridescence. Would like to learn more about this fascinating woman. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Kelly and a prosperous and healthy New Year. Elizabeth.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 3:31 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thank you, Elizabeth!

 
At December 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM , Anonymous Lara Hill said...

Excellent! I really like the way you capture how a girl is too city for the country after being too country for the city!

 
At December 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM , Anonymous Rhonda Ritenour said...

Very interesting piece. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your writing. :-)

 
At December 19, 2011 at 5:03 AM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

Thank you for contributing to this week's Trifecta Challenge. I loved your piece. I like the idea of propping up people who have been left behind, and I love the idea of a dim sum being lonely and out of place. Having lived in both country and city, and having felt a little out of place in each, this piece really resonated with me. I hope we'll see you back next week.

 
At December 19, 2011 at 9:50 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

SO wonderful. Your voice in this piece is very clear. I love it.

 
At December 20, 2011 at 10:38 PM , Anonymous joules said...

I wrote this on Trifecta, but in case you're not reading your own press I'm sharing it here:)
Kelly, that first paragraph is rich with detail and is so fulfilling. And the phrase hungry for nourishment, not aesthetics made me wish I had written it. Well done!

 
At December 21, 2011 at 3:59 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Amanda!

 
At December 21, 2011 at 3:59 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Yes, I've lived both as well and now I live in that no-man's land: the suburbs. Thanks for reading!

 
At December 21, 2011 at 4:00 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At December 21, 2011 at 4:00 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you for reading, Lara!

 
At December 21, 2011 at 4:12 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks so much! I'm reading A Place on Earth by Wendell Berry, an author who really doesn't get the attention he deserves. He is a master at portraying uncomfortable situations and embarrassment. I was trying to take a stab at the same thing here.

 

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