Sunday, November 08, 2009

I Wanted to Sit Down, But Didn't

I have a bad habit.

I leave drawers and cabinets open. I'm especially bad about this in the kitchen when I'm cooking. "For convenience," I say. When I need something else from the cabinent, then it's easier to get to. I don't have to touch the cabinent doors with my flour-dusted hands.

Harder to fathom is why I leave my dresser drawers open. Sometimes I'm very good and close my dresser drawers. I feel good about myself when I do that. But lately I've been falling back into the habit of leaving them open.

I have the same dresser I used as a child. The dresser has traveled with me to many homes. I'd have to think for a while to remember how many. Poor Allen, he has carried the weight of that dresser so many times. It's a very nice wooden dresser. I remember my mother picking it out for me. We were standing next to the set in a furniture store. (Allen uses the chest of drawers from the set). The chest of drawers was taller than I was. Back then the furniture seemed massive and mysterious. For some reason I remember the salesman telling my mother it was made of "fruitwood."

Tonight as I was dressing to go out to eat with Allen, I glanced at the floor, looking for my boots. And I saw that my bottom right drawer was open.

Allen and I recently rearranged our bedroom and moved the dresser. The right side of the right drawer used to face a wall. Now it's exposed. The bedroom light was shining on it. The side of the drawer was scribbled with crayons.

It struck me that my one of my boys had done that, when he was little. In a moment of perfect joy, he had decorated mommy's dresser drawer. That was a different life. That was my life as a mother of little boys. I hadn't thought about that for a while. My boys have been grown now, since forever.

I wanted to sit down for just a minute, but I didn't.

I hope I didn't reprimand him for doing that back then--in my long-ago life as the mother of little boys. Because now I think the crayon marks are the best thing about that dresser. The very, very best thing.


Ryan said...

This is lovely.

Erin said...

Indeed! Simply lovely.

ggw07 said...

When I was a child, my mother, an artist, let me draw on walls. My father came home one day to discover this. He was shocked and said, "Look at what she's done!" My mother said, "Yes, but what perspective!" Years later this became a family legend, which sometimes one doubts. A cousin sent me old photographs, portraits done by a photographer visiting our home. One photo has me standing in my best party dress and patent leather shoes in a corner. Behind me is a deliberate line scrawled across one wall to another- When I saw this I was so excited- Proof that the legend was true!

Theresa Williams said...

That's a beautiful story, Gretchen.



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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