Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, March 23rd, 2009
A Bill of Goods
Beate Sigriddaughter

Annalee walks in her garden. She waters her plants. The roses reach for her. Her love for these roses is as transparent as the evening’s angled sun. A morning glory, all curled into itself, still bends toward her from the trellis in the wind and brushes her arm as she passes.

Annalee walks enchanted, like a princess of old.

She feels the mellow sunlight on her skin, that lovely sheath of molecules that separates her from the world, but not too much. She, after all, does want to be part of this radiant world.

Annalee raises both arms into the air. She doesn’t care if neighbors see or do not see. She is excited. She is alive.

She returns to the house. Her mother has fallen asleep in her wheelchair in front of the TV and with a romance novel in her lap. Her chest moves evenly, expelling the slightest rattle of breath.

Annalee gently tucks the soft baby blue blanket around her mother’s narrow shoulders and touches her mother’s cheek with the back of her fingers.

Annalee swipes a touch of color on her lips. The stone Buddha behind her is smiling his carved secrets of serenity. Sometimes she reads Buddhist prayers. Sometimes she even sits still as though in formal mediation. But she wouldn’t call herself a Buddhist. She tucks her hair behind one of her ears with a small rhinestone pin and rinses her teacup before going out.

She walks over to the neighbor’s house. The widow’s sons are there, and one of their wives, and the divorced one’s three children. Soon they engage her in intelligent conversation. Eventually the subject meanders to war.

“Conflict is necessary,” she adds with insightful docility to the lively conversation, for this is the bill of goods she has been sold so that now she owns it and is responsible for it, for since she has been taught it, then clearly it has to be true. “If we always lived in peace and abundance, we would soon be bored.”

The men’s heads nod approvingly. Yes. Without conflict we would have no motivation. “Except possibly to have sex,” one of them quips.

The dinner ends. She walks home, declining an escort for the few steps she has to go.

The next day, a Sunday, Annalee luxuriates by sleeping in a little, but not too long. When she steps out into her garden, the air is still crisp with morning. Jewels of dew adorn the grass, and the awakening cedar chip scent responds to the sun.

A new white Peace Rose has opened this morning, and two buds of Sweet Surrender are about to burst into pink splendor.

Annalee decides to wheel her mother out into the garden to serve her breakfast there, chocolate croissants and steaming decaf.

“Of course you can bring your book outside,” she reassures her mother who fears that bird song alone will not be satisfying.

Yes, birds are singing. Annalee even hears the voice of a blackbird form the pond in the distance.

Annalee feels pleasure, excitement, life. She has quite forgotten that all this is allegedly not enough.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Donna Levy [ ] on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 7:08 AM
Some writers would have to create a book to express what you have done in a single precious page. Extremely well done. To life! Love, Donna

Posted by david coyote [ ] on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 9:35 AM
You enchanted me with the first few lines! 571 words - perfect flash - so pleasing that I read it three times. Four paws up. Thank you! scruffy

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