24 January 2015

0 story time

you just run up there and pull it out, she said. get it before they close the lid.

these were her instructions to her grandchildren for what to do about the gold filling on her upper right cuspid after she died. 

they were, she told the two girls (the boys were out of the room when these arrangements were made and so remained blissfully unaware), they were to go up there together and get that thing out. for she, a child of the depression, didn't want to be going into the ground with money in her mouth.

that tooth was gold. and girls, she said, you get it out.

they all thought she died once. the christmas eve after she was widowed, she couldn't sleep and so didn't lay down on the couch beside the christmas tree until just before dawn.

she wasn't a sound sleeper and, in a family where each person was singularly convinced that the greatest fun was had in his or her absence, it was unprecedented for her to sleep in, so afraid was she they would all have fun without her.

they knew this, her daughters and their daughters and sons and her sons-in-law. knew she would kill them, when she awoke, for having allowed her to sleep. nonetheless, they tiptoed around the house, shhhhhhing anyone who dared speak at normal volume. because they knew she needed to rest. 

only later, once she had awoken, would they- one at a time- confess to one another that they had each, at some point, gone into the room where she lay sleeping in the glow of the fairy lights to watch the rise and fall of her chest, to reassure themselves she was alive. 

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