Issue 32: Stop

Page 56

SHORTS

Woman Committed “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” - Henry David Thoreau by CHASTIT Y WEST

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he looked to her right and discovered there a small green notebook with a black, capped pen lying on top of it. The notebook and pen lay purposefully on her bedside table for these moments when she’d suddenly awaken and would need to record a memory or a dream or a terrible plaguing train of thought. With some effort, she heaved herself out of a sleepy haze and onto her side so she could reach the notebook and pen. She flipped the pages with her thumb, fluttering them like a deck of cards, until she came to the first blank one. Then she swiped backward one, two, three pages to the beginning of her most recent entry. Day 31, I think. Nighttime. I seem to have been more present than not today. Can’t say whether that’s a permanent or even a positive development, but it’s the truth for today. Not that I really gained anything from being more “with it.” Nothing much happened, and if every day is like this, what’s the point of it? Something about loved ones, and making the most, and gratitude for what we have, investments in the future. I try not to listen too much; that’s bad manners. I know it, and they know it. Nevertheless… I started this entry, despite having written earlier today, because I suddenly remembered a day I wanted to record. It came 56 BCM 32

to me fresh and green and alive, and everything I know now is brown and dying. I want to hold this one, see if it can sprout in my palm, shoot its roots down to the earth and anchor me here just a bit longer. I was young, 10 maybe, and it was Easter Sunday. It was everything an innocent Christian girl would wish for in an Easter Sunday—sunny, new swarms of gnats claiming the air, and my shiny white buckle shoes clicked on the sidewalk. This year I didn’t have to wear lace socks—they were plain cuffed instead, and they were new so they wouldn’t crumble and bunch under my heel like those lazy, hand-medowns from last year. To this day, I maintain, few things feel quite as satisfying as a new pair of good-fitting socks. Well, a fresh cup of hot coffee. The day was pristine. New life emerging everywhere, everyone on their best behavior—Mama and Daddy included. Smiles and sunniness warmed away the last chills of winter. Despite some minor and typical childhood bumps, I hadn’t yet learned fear. Pretty soon, and forevermore, but not just yet. My Easter dress was yellow… … … and I’ve just been idling here, chewing my pen for I don’t know how long trying to describe this yellow. It wasn’t of lemons or buttercups or egg yolks. It was breezy and ethereal and entirely unto itself. I remember sitting on the hard church pew, my tip-toes just barely touching the floor, hands resting in my lap, perfectly pleated yellowness


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