Vignette: Mimi’s Closet

The fabulous Iris Apfel. Like Iris, Mimi, my grandma, wore large framed glasses and chunky jewelry. Unlike Iris, who shared many of her secrets, my grandma kept hers close to her heart.

 

Mimi’s Closet

by Shannon P. Laws

 

The door at the end of the long hall stands open
The third bathroom is in there
Sent to the room by my mother’s voice
busy behind the door of the second
common bathroom, the guest bathroom
Go use Mimi’s
I obey

The faint gold light
from a bedside lamp whispers
as I step twice into the space
Her closet door is open, just a little
Moving toward the closet my arm reaches out
to feel inside
to find her secrets

These are her uniforms
her suits of clothes and character
Rich hand-me-downs with East Coast labels
—meant to impressed me, even at 13

I am too far, too deep, too close to the truth
my ears give a quick check
All family members are engaged
in after dinner conversation
at the other side of the house
No footsteps in the hall
I can quickly look
touch a few
view the hieroglyphs
decipher the ridges
in her shoes

A shriveled fox head snaps at me
with sunken eyes from the top of a fur wrap
I sense the ghost of a guard
standing attention blocking me from the
colors, textures that hang in the back just out of reach

My bladder and a toilet flush down the way
remind me why
I’m there

Use the bathroom
then leave
don’t touch anything
mind your business

As I turn to capture one last look
I see her desk
a round breakfast table
paired by two chairs
with woven wood backs
Yellow chains of jewelry, keys, papers
laid out with books and pens
There’s a tube TV, two large leather jewelry boxes
on the long low dresser in front of the bed between
two dark lamps
Under the bed, I spy boxes of canned soup

Who gets all this when she’s dead?
My aunts will consume anything of value
Strangers at the Goodwill get the rest

 

 

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Three Things

This week I am thinking of three things:  clouds, pockets and revelations.
As a kid I watched “Bewitched” re-runs after school.  Sometimes Samantha would join her mother in the clouds for a witch to witch conference.  They would argue with each other completely oblivious to their surroundings.  Apparently in that universe it was normal for witches to meet in the clouds.  How wonderful to wiggle your nose and ride a cloud for an afternoon.
Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead flying
in ABC’s “Bewitched” 1964-1972


Only one cloud in my sky this morning, and it looks good for riding. 
What does this world look like from that cloud, sitting higher than birds soar? 
Perspective is everything.  Our planet is full, and getting fuller of people and we all have unique perspectives on the world, the neighborhood, the view of the lake, if Mrs. Green looks good in pink.  We all have different points of view.  How wonderful!
What about your point of view on the life’s journey?  
How are you doing? 
Have you figured out who you are yet?
I’m still working on it.
For a short while, years back, I was a daycare teacher for the three and four year olds.  One month we were teaching the kids about the five senses.  I went to the resource room to find games to go along with the theme.  The one I found for “touch” is on my mind this week:
Place random objects in a pillow case of different size and shape, such as a block, paperclip, action figure, rock, a string.  One by one a child places their hand into the bag, selects one item and guessing what it is only by touch. 
It was a success!  The kids seemed to enjoy it.

Revelation

I witnessed a man having a revelation, and it is haunting me.  He is in his 70’s.  The expression on his face was a moment of clarity.  I saw it.  It hit me hard.  A true WOW.

It was as if, for a second, the great mystery of life was revealed to him.  It looked as if he could see his life unfolding before his eyes, the important parts floating by, and now he could see, NOW he knew who he was, what his life had been about all those years! 
It was as if he finished reading that one page from a long mystery novel when all is revealed!
When you find out whodunnit and scream, “WHAT?  It was him?”
And at that moment I thought about the hidden objects in the pillow case and riding the clouds.  I thought about clues hidden by life’s veil, a rock that we carry with us forever in our mind’s pocket, something we play with and touch, to see if it is still there, wondering the great wonder of what it is.  A stone we get to hold and view ONE time.
Written on the stone is our answer. 
Once we read it, we ride the clouds.