4.1.2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Shelby Lee Adams
Photo by Shelby Lee Adams

April 1, 2015: When night comes…

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One thought on “4.1.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. Mam don’t throw nothing away and she says she never has and she never will. And she collects things that others are finished with, too, particular things, and she gives them a home, though it don’t exactly look like a home and looks more like a museum.

    ‘Everything in its place and a place for every thing.’

    Mam says it’s a cabinet of curiosities and she’s talking about her home. She says it with a flourish and she says there’s a story for every piece she has. She says she keeps it just so, in case one day her memory leaks. She’s heard that can happen.

    Some things is just packed in boxes and it’s like Christmas when she opens one and she takes out small silver thimbles and buttons made from bone and scraps of paper that look like nothing. She tells you it is a bus ticket from long ago, far enough back it was the first bus ticket, and her mam took her into town one day and that day our mam saw a boy in short trousers and his name was Tom and he stuck his tongue out at her but only cos she was staring and not because he didn’t like her or think her pretty.

    Tom was our da’s name, before ever he was a da. Mam says it was the same Tom, that boy with his tongue out, but that’s maybe her memory leaking cos I don’t see how the world is ordered so neatly as to have made them meet when they were so young and then to later meet again.

    Da called mam ‘Doll’ sometimes and I wonder if that’s why she has so many dolls. And puppets with strings and their faces carved from wood. And china girls with real dresses and real hair, and cracks in their porcelain cheeks. And mam’s got a name for every one and she can tell you the when and the how she got them, every one.

    ‘See this doll, and she’s called Madeleine, and I remember I got her in France. Saw her sitting pretty in a shop window and your da caught me looking. And after, when I was wondering what she should be called, me and your da was sitting at a street-side café and we was drinking sweetened coffee that tasted of heaven and this man said we should dip a madeleine into our cups and that’s what we did and that’s why she’s called Madeleine.’

    And I know our dad never was in France in his life, so all that mam has gathered about, all those boxes and shelves full of mementos, they are none of them protection against her memory failing. Besides, she told me once the same doll’s name was Lucy and before that it was Sissy.

    Mam’s old as history now and so I reckon her not remembering things exactly as they was is alright. She says da’s busy in his workshop when I call and she says I could maybe take him a cup of tea, if I’m making one.

    ‘Use the Liberty cup,’ she says. ‘He won’t drink his tea out of any other. We got that cup in London when your da was up and we met the Queen, or at least someone who looked like the Queen – someone pretty and wearing white gloves. She was drinking her tea out of just such a cup and so your da asked where he might find one.’

    I take a cup out to the shed and in there with the door closed it still smells of da, a little it does, even though he passed more’n ten years back. Mam don’t ever remember that and I don’t set her straight cos I don’t see the harm. I use the Liberty cup, not because what mam said is true – I know da preferred his tea out of an enamel tin cup that he kept hidden in his shed and he’d pour the tea mam brought him from the Liberty cup into his tin cup when she wasn’t looking. I use the Liberty cup now so it fits with her story and I think da did the same.

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