C'est Moi!

Follow me!

Don't miss out on new content! Subscribe to the Dani Denatti Wire and receive my latest posts in your inbox.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Like what you see? Support my writing by buying me a cup of coffee!

Search
Navigation
« PSA (subtitle: Why I Suck at Life) | Main | The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love »
Monday
Nov122012

Telling Stories

Somewhere during my morning commute, a woman named Jane wandered into my head. This is her story, or at least one very small part of it. It is told from Jane's point of view, not mine. Never mine.

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

STRINGS

“Green sweater … green sweater … green sweater.”

I mumble the words over and over as I paw through the clothes in her closet, their smell somehow mustier than the rest of the house. This room has been closed off for days, so the scent of disuse makes sense.

It also makes my skin crawl.

What I wouldn’t give for some rubber gloves and a dust rag right now. I bet I could even find a rusty old can of Pledge beneath the kitchen sink. She always kept her cleaning supplies there, in a half-rotted cardboard box. At the very least, I could find something to scrub away the layer of dust and grime that seems to coat every surface, something sharp and astringent to fill the stale air. The sense of abandonment that clings to the house, though — that’s a different story. They don’t make a cleanser for that. And even if they did, it’d be too late to use it.

Downstairs, I hear my brother, Erik, talking to the others. I can’t make out their words, not with the old A/C unit rattling in the living room window, but the hum of conversation reminds me to hurry.

Convinced the sweater isn’t in the closet, I turn and yank open random drawers. In my haste, I upset the picture frames that blanket the top of her dresser. As I set them upright, matching each frame to its dust-free strip like a puzzle, I realize she’d arranged them strategically. Each picture covered a dent or a particularly ugly chip in the dresser’s thin veneer, effectively hiding the years of abuse and neglect. For some reason, this makes me angry. I push the frames back, so that all the scars show.

I return my attention to the drawers, careful not to disturb my handiwork. In the very last one, I find the prey I’ve been hunting: a pale green sweater she’d made many years ago. Sea foam green, I think it’s called, although I’ve been to the sea many times and have never seen foam that color. Sea foam gray would be better.

I close the drawer and shake the folds from the sweater. It’s a lovely piece, made lovelier with time. She was always good with a crochet hook, but it’s age, not skill, that makes the yarn so soft. The big, loopy stitches look almost unbearably delicate. It seems an odd choice for a final shroud, but it’s not my place to argue. Not anymore, at least. God, how she’d laugh if she could hear me think such thoughts.

There’s a string of yarn dangling from the bottom of the sweater, and I make a mental note to snip it off before handing the garment over. When I examine it closer, I can see that it’s the start of a row, the loose bit you’re supposed to work into the other stitches as you go. How could she have forgotten this? She took such care in crafting the rest of the sweater, such pride in her work. I’m assuming that last bit, of course — it’s been years since we’ve spoken, and I have no idea what made her proud. But she asked to be buried in the damned thing, so it must have meant something to her. In all the years she’s owned it, how had she never noticed this flaw? It’s so obvious. Almost deliberate. Why did she never attempt to fix it? A few quick flicks, and she could have woven it back into place, hidden it the same way she hid the gouges in her dresser. Or she could have cut it off entirely, as I’m planning to do. Something. Why did she ignore it?

It bothers me more than it should, that string.

I pick at it absentmindedly and frown at her dresser. I know the others are waiting downstairs, but I’m distracted by the pictures now. I wonder if Erik will want them. He’ll be disgusted by the Wal-Mart frames, of course, but you never know with Erik. Or at least I never do. And it is Erik’s smiling face and Erik’s deep blue eyes — our mother’s eyes — that feature so prominently in each photo. All except one, that is.

A small frame in back holds the only proof I ever existed in this house. Surprisingly, there isn’t half as much dust on this picture. The larger photos of Erik probably shielded it. It’s the only explanation I care to entertain.

I stare into the frame and recognize nothing of myself in the young girl looking back. I try to recall how old I was when it was taken. Ten? Eleven? Certainly before my twelfth birthday, before innocence was first shattered by my father’s ugly hands and my mother’s uglier silence. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember I was ever carefree. But now, the memories won’t stop.

That last summer, the last trip we ever took to the lake cabin. Picking wild blueberries with my mother, catching trout with Erik, teasing him when I landed the biggest fish. Lying beside my father in the narrow old hammock, never questioning his touch on my leg or the reluctance on my mother’s face as she watched us.

That summer was the last time our family was whole.

Someone’s replaced my knees with rubber bands. I stumble to my mother’s bed, still clutching the photo, still fiddling with the loose string of her sweater. The old springs groan beneath my weight as I sit.

I’ve spent thirty years trying to forget. Why did she want to remember? Why did she keep this, of all pictures? And why didn’t she do something about this goddamned string?  How could she stand to look at it hanging there, day in and day out, a constant reminder of her mistake, a daily affirmation of her failure?

Now the memories hit so hard and so fast that they split me open. I’m sliced apart, my skin mere ribbons, and I sit there bleeding and lost and so very desperate to gather up all the pieces of myself that have spilled onto my mother’s floor. I don’t have time for this. There’s a funeral to plan, bills to pay, a house to sell. Somehow, I must find a way to put myself back together again, even if all the pieces don’t fit.

Because the reality is the pieces will never fit. There will always be something missing, a part so tiny only a child could see it. Lord knows I’ve found plenty of other things to try stuffing into the empty spot over the years. Some have worked better than others. Some have come so close to making me feel complete that they have even fooled me. Almost.

It’s amazing the lies you can tell yourself.

All it takes is one string to unravel it, one errant piece of yarn left dangling. You give it a yank, and boom — you’re nothing but a scared little girl, crying for the mother you lost not last week, but thirty years ago. And when your brother finds you there, tangled in a pile of yarn that was once a sweater, and asks what the hell happened, perhaps you will finally find the words that have eluded you for so long.

“It wasn’t my fault.”

 

 

References (8)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    This is an great, excellent and wonderful post in terms of content, ideas and resources. Ohrid also u can check out Reizen and Template Monster Rapidshare
  • Response
    qHrVkS Cheap Phentermine
  • Response
    bjiiVs Buy ha ha ha online
  • Response
    Response: aeRvsBqc
    Dani Denatti - Blog - Telling Stories
  • Response
    Provigil Experience
  • Response
    With over 25 years combined experience our sales and fitting team can provide you with an easy and stress free experience. We supply and fit blinds in your home or business and will visit you at a time that is convenient to you.
  • Response
    Response: boxcanvas.co.uk
    What a cool article, I didnt think that you can come across some thing here. A pleasant shock, it occurs rarely, but below we can speak of the true extra value towards the reader. Annoy me about blogs usually amateurish article without having good type and with errors. Here I am ...
  • Response
    Response: tavorlaw.co.il
    Taco Twats

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>