When she’s confused by the present, Pearl turns to the past:
She struggles to the attic and fetches the box containing the remnants of her
history. She takes that box into the kitchen
and sets it on the table, a table always covered by a vinyl cloth; bright
yellow flowers on a white background. In
the fall of her life, it is perpetually spring on Pearl’s kitchen table.
The plastic flowers cheer her.
Pearl removes the lid from the box, takes up her lighted
magnifying glass and settles comfortably into her past. She feels her body relax and lighten as she
reads the letters her parents wrote to one another when they were
courting. She laughs at the family
photographs of her mother and her nine brothers. She reads old letters from people whose names
she no longer recognizes.
She frowns. The past
No. She corrects
herself. The past is vast, ever-expanding. The past is growing thick with memories
She tells herself that in the near future, she will belong
to the past. Even today, the majority of
her life is past. She wonders what will
happen to her history after she is gone.
She picks up a photograph and flips it over. Paul.
For years, she has wondered about Paul
and his place in her history.
The past is too deep to comprehend. There are too many characters, too many
events, too many faces: How can anyone expect to understand it without a guide?
She will leave a roadmap; a compass; a light illuminating the
way back, showing all the twists and turns and connections of her life. She rises and crosses to her desk, tucked
into a corner of the kitchen. She rolls
in a crisp sheet of paper and begins to type.
To Whom it May Concern…
No. That won’t
do at all. She pulls the paper from the typewriter,
balls it up and begins again.
She smiles, hits the carriage return and continues.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge