From the author of On Hearing of My Mother's Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter's Memoir of Mental Illness, Stories from My Memory-Shelf is the story of my life told in short fiction and essays. Features author commentary on the real-life events that inspired the stories.
?Girl in Pink, Seeing Red?
Never mess with a little girl?s best friend ? even if she is dressed all in pink.
?He is clasping my hand and leading me down the street to the local bar; propping me up on a barstool so all his friends can see, can joke with me and about me while I twirl about on the red vinyl, tall and proud to be out with Daddy.?
A young girl walks to school alone ? is she being stalked?
?The Second Grade?
Because everything?s a first when you?re in the second grade.
?She was strong, she was beautiful, she was graceful. Even if it was only in twilight that it showed.?
?Past and Present?
? ?It was lucky I forgot my keys,? her mother was saying, rubbing the raised scar between her daughter?s thumb and forefinger. ?I came back and found you lying in a pool of blood.? ?
?Large for my age, prideful of my tomboyhood, and self-assured in my paranormal incredulity, it was I who braved the deep, I, even, who had relayed the tale of the enigmatic contents of the newspaper room following my first venture there, and inadvertently set the neighborhood to wondering what horrors might be lurking at its bottom.?
? ?What?s the matter, Sutton?? Mr. Jenkins inquired. ?Schneider get your goat??
There was a momentous silent pause followed by the audible snap of thirty heads whipping around in unison towards the mortified young girl and the shamelessly grinning boy who had yanked on her ponytail until she?d finally shouted at him to quit it.?
?I didn?t think I wanted to get married. But now I wonder who will take me to the bathroom when I?m too old to stand.?
?Go on, deep-water girl! Keep on lookin? for that deep water! You won?t never find it!?
?He approached her, thumbs tucked into the pockets of his own full-length dungarees, evidently immune to the heat.
?Say, that?s an expensive trip,? he observed. ?You, uh ? you got enough money to get there?? ?
?It was something, wasn?t it? Finding five dollars. Not a matter of life or death, maybe. Not just yet.?
?Heads of the Line?
?Each job had its own rhythm. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Thunk; thunk; thunk. It was such a persuasive rhythm that sometimes you even forgot that it was a part of the job. Like that unfortunate header from last season...?
?He raised his flashlight and looked her over, as they always did, comparing the image on the out-of-state license to the young woman in the rusty van that pre-dated her by a decade.?
Essay on finally understanding how it must feel to be black in a largely white world.
"Baby and Me"
"Our best friends were having a baby. Inwardly, I groaned."
Flash fiction. In which I fail to comprehend the reproductive instinct that seems to be consuming everyone around me.
"Funeral for Charlie"
"I watched as the water swirled away, taking Charlie on one final miraculous journey to the home of his ancient ancestors..."
Flash fiction. Sad, but oh so true.
?Dead in the Water?
?She hung suspended, gazing up at the sky, the sun, the surface, at the cord entangling her foot. It was too late. She would drown; she would die there beneath the water, ten feet away from the people who loved her.?
?Youth does not have a fair picture of itself... It is only with the perspective of years that we begin to see our lives in patterns, in great sweeping arcs that promise, if we examine them closely, to reveal to us something of ourselves, something of who we were, something of who we have become. Something of who we will become.?
What stories are on YOUR memory-shelf?