#24 Moving Day

by Betsy Locke

Oona waited on the bottom stair, head bowed as if in prayer or defeat. Incredible to think that as many times as she had run up and down these stairs, she couldn’t say how many there were. The screenplay of her domestic life played out here; each nook and creaky floorboard wrapped a memory. Change the setting and the memories might be lost forever.

For example, without the afternoon sun streaming in through the beveled glass of this hall window how would she evoke the image of a young bride, glowing and vibrant, arriving at her new home?

And if she couldn’t go to the pantry for a can of soup, see the names and dates penciled in, laddered up through the years inside the pantry door, how would she conjure up those sweet faces?

She glanced toward the front door. Phelan was loading the last box. So much a part of this house she had become; at night she roamed from room to room, in the pitch dark, fearless, familiar with all the ghosts of its former players.

Phelan came in. “Mom, you ready?” She nodded, stood up slowly, balancing herself on the bannister. Phelan took her arm, guiding her gently forward and reluctantly she relinquished her grip. All the way down the hallway she brushed the faded wallpaper with her free hand, like a small child, hoping to leave a trail of fingerprints.

“Did you forget anything?” Phelan asked.

“Not yet,” she answered.

5 comments:

Deb said...

This is lovely, strong writing. I could really feel the emotion of the experience.

John Olsthoorn said...

I agree. It is all in the ending - very powerful and pleasantly unexpected - the tiny tiny twist - irony, like a squirt of lemon on the tongue!

C Sonberg Larson said...

I really like this piece. It invokes so much emotion and feels like a much longer work. Love the ending, leaves the reader with a twinge of thought provoking sadness that lingers afterward. Great writing!

Lisa Agosti said...

This is my favorite entry at this point. I feel her pain. Great metaphors. Good job!

Jayne Martin said...

I actually felt a physical touch in my heart at the last line. Beautiful.