Pennies in the Street

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

She had troubles with time, specifically making it stay in one place long enough. Time was like water scooped by the cupped handful to her lips, and she was always thirsty.

Certainly there had to be better ways to contain it, to keep time from running out on her, because before her eyes her babies grew into people with curtained minds and little predictability, and her friends shifted out of focus in the narrowed frame of her everyday life, and her face in the mirror seemed no older to her but to strangers (she realized) she must have appeared grown.

She did not feel grown, not even after the ring on her finger became second skin, not after the bi-weekly paychecks or the map of scars her children left on her tender belly. Not after the mortgage payments or the hospital trips or the way her body settled into softer lines, heavier shoulders.

She felt like a woman on her knees, hands scrabbling at the time rolling away from her, pennies in the street. She watched her babies grow and cried “Where did the time go?” and everyone rolled their eyes. Her children were still so young. But when she described them, the numbers on her lips astounded her. They were still galloping toward adulthood, and here she was, grasping at the hem of their shirts.

Meanwhile she watched her parents go grayer. She flipped through old pictures, and in the pictures her father looked as young as her husband, and she and her mother could have been twins. But the pictures were beginning to yellow. They weren’t on the shelves but in the old albums, the ones she only pulled out every few years. She still found a deep vein of denial when thoughts of their eventual deaths niggled at her mind. Her parents would live forever: This was the magical thinking of a child.

So with one hand she grasped at each generation: the one above, the one below. Any way she looked at it, time felt short.

11 comments:

  1. The images and metaphors are astoundingly apt and powerful. Thank you for sharing this. Your writing here reminds me a little of Virginia Woolf. I'm glad you're back from vacation!

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    1. Whoa. Did you just put me in the same sentence as Virginia Woolf?!?

      Thank you for your encouragement and kind words, Katie. I treasure you.

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  2. This is beautiful, Beth. You always captivate me with your writing.

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    1. Love you Carly. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  3. I was planning to write a post tonight and after reading this, I think I need some time. Because all the beautiful words are RIGHT. HERE. Stop being selfish with them. For real--this is beautiful. I mean, that doesn't even do it. So I'm done with this comment because you took all the words.

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    1. That made me laugh. I had to give myself a prompt in the absence of your NSSS link up...it was "time." I highly encourage you to take the prompt and go write, girl!

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  4. Thank you for describing my thoughts exactly. I'm scrambling to figure out what happened to all my time, too.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Anita. I owe you an e-mail.

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  5. Wow-- I found this a very powerful description of the passing of time.

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