Guilty Pleasures

I.

Never one for affection. A woman of few words. And yet there was something in the way she rolled up her sleeves to knead the dough, or how a wisp of silver hair would slip loose from the severe bun to catch on the damp blush of her cheek. Now and then, we’d watch her through a gap in the scullery door as she stood, elbow-deep in hot soap suds, humming along to some old-fashioned melody. When she sensed our presence, she’d wipe her rough, red hands on her apron and bark at us to, “mind the floor”. Like her Battenburg cake, she would partake of life’s pleasures, in slivers.

creaking pond ice…
Grandmother’s best
poker face

II.

We all knew where she kept The Box. Right at the back of the sideboard in the musty front room that was only aired on special occasions, like wakes, or baptisms. Through the cellophane, the faint, bittersweet smell of rumour and speculation. A gift from whom? How long ago? Would each mouthful be unblemished, or would it bear the bloom of age? We’d turn the questions over in our minds, give The Box a little shake and, in turn, hold it to our ears, as if the contents would this time offer up their secrets. Would they go with her, to the grave? We imagined her in her own dark box, with this one cradled in her lap, embalmed in eternal silence. And the worms would turn, unable to penetrate the film.

Sometimes I wonder what happened to The Box, but there’s no one left to ask.

chocolate violets…
Grandma’s forbidden love
still under wraps

————————————-
Notes from the Gean, 3:4, March 2012
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret Dornaus
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 05:59:51

    Yes! I love this one, Claire!

    Reply

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