Lucky Star, The Drive Part 3
"As she crunches the strip of bacon, and the flavor bursts onto her tongue, the birds continue with their chirping outside, and there is a knock at the door."
Sitting in her room, the walls tower around her in protection. She can see the cracks in the paint masquerading as rhythm. They pulse with her thoughts as they rush through her mind. She pulls some clothes out of her duffle bag, and then a photograph. The edges of the black and white picture faded, she only knows one of the young girls in the photo. It is from the early nineteen twenties and shows five young children all dressed up in their Sunday best. White collars grip at their throats, ruffles and ribbons show in white and grey decorating their small crimpy dresses. Small uncomfortable black shoes strapped and shiny hang on their feet. Her grandmother is a toddler in this photo, and her sisters are gathered around her with muted and weary expressions.
Time is an envelope, carrying a few cut outs of life; scraps of memories held onto. This photo evokes the timelessness of it all. She knows she is connected to these young girls, though she only exists to them as a future shadow not yet imagined. She places the photo on the old dust covered table that was already in the room upon arriving, and walks over to the crusty window. She heaves it open with immense effort, grunting and holding her breath. Outside, two stories below, she spots a cat slinking across the yard.
The emptiness, dust, mice left alone to their burrowing. ‘A dream for a kitty,’ she thinks. She takes in a deep breath of the morning air, already balmy, and the breeze is nice passing through the room.
Downstairs she hears the sizzling of bacon. He loves his greasy meals, eggs fried in bacon grease, potatoes crispy. She was raised on a strict diet, and dabbled in being a vegetarian and a vegan for years. But it is nice that he cooks. She slips on her shoes to avoid splinters on the stairs and plods down the wide elegant staircase. She imagines the curves in the banister to have been shiny and prominent in their time. Quaint full length dresses on the women who slogged up and down them in their laced up boots with stiff soles. She imagines a lady sitting in the parlor, crochet hook ready, waiting for her husband to return.
As she enters the kitchen, ‘Margaret,’ he says, ‘the water is running brown. We will have to get some gallons from the store.’ ‘I’m on it in a few,’ she replies, awaiting the salty crunch of the bacon cooked just to her liking.
She sits down and plays with the edge of the plastic table cloth. ‘Alone,’ she remembers, ‘why did I feel alone?’ Lost in thought she does not hear his words as he rambles about the latest climate change news. Everything she knew of the goings on in the world came through him. Mostly she listened. But right now she wanders in her mind, back to the photo. She knows her grandma grew up to be trampy, later an alcoholic mom who both took abuse from her husband, and dished it out to her children. But what exactly was her childhood like? Could she breathe within the confines of her family’s expectations or find security in the vacant neglect? Margaret felt these things from her childhood, but she could only imagine that the times were so different.
Remembering a child rearing device in Shakespeare’s house on a trip to England years ago, a young child would be bound in steel circle about their waist, connected by a steel bar to a pole, so they could walk in a circle and not be prone to wander or bump into the burning hearth. She may feel alone, but not trapped. She knows she has the freedom to ramble.
She trickles some maple syrup on her pieces of bacon, and picks a piece up. Looking across the table she squints at him, blurring the lit background with the definition of his shape. ‘I love you,’ she says, and places the sweet salty morsel between her lips. As she crunches the strip of bacon, and the flavor bursts onto her tongue, the birds continue with their chirping outside, and there is a knock at the door.