Our class requirements for this week’s assignment are:
- Choose one of your collisions and expand it into 200–400 words.
- Try this one as reminiscence, using first-person narrative and past tense.
- Please title your post with the collision you choose, and as usual, focus on your senses.
Important Note: This entry includes both fact and fiction. My parents are not dead and I have not cleaned out their house with my sister, Madeline. I have not seen pictures of strangers in tin boxes in closets of my childhood home. Some things that are true: I have a sister named Madeline, the photo of my mother, the photo of my brother, my parents still live in my childhood home, & I was christened at five weeks.
Metaphor Collision-Broken pleasure-Wendy Mastandrea
I returned to my childhood home, which was full of old memories. My sister, Madeline, met me there one Saturday morning in April; her arms towered with cleaning supplies. Closets were littered with dust balls, cat hair, and broken pleasures. Stacked in the far, back corner were a pile of six tin boxes that were held shut with dried-out rubber bands. We worked as a two-person daisy chain to move the boxes from the galley closet and onto the faux-wood kitchen table. Dust whirled upwards into our faces and up our noses. Sneezes shuddered us, eyes itched and watered, and tissues were exchanged.
We huddled over the first box as if we were two kids opening a shared present on Christmas morning. I pulled the rubber band but it broke off limply in my hand. I forced open the rusted top with a jarring jolt. After a brief pause, I removed the lid. We craned our necks forward and found the inside jammed with old post cards and photos.
Posed strangers, white and black and in black and white, stared back at us. Echoes of July 4th fireworks and roasted corncobs wafted up weakly. Blurred mercuric dispositions dared us to judge them. I imagined that I heard their half-joking arguments. Where were they now? I wondered silently. Did my parents now, too, only live on in someone else’s closet, hidden in a tin box, only to come alive after someone, who was a stranger to us, died?
Earlier versions of my family history paraded itself in front of us. Our mother, age seventeen, posed in a green summer dress that my grandfather bought her during the time that they lived together in a hot, New York City boarding house. Our brother, who died at four months, looked sadly back at us, posed in a photo studio with sickly pale skin. A picture of myself in a white, lace christening dress, aged five weeks, held by my parents, whose fear that they might lose another child, shone fiercely in their eyes.
My heart ached. I could not look Madeline in the eye. I got up and made an excuse to use the bathroom.