Monday Project: An agent of change

Audrey was alone, but sleepy and warm. She moved her lips over her gums, getting used to their fleshiness, sans dentures. She remembered, suddenly, having watched her own grandmother do the same thing.

She pulled the blanket up under her chin, neatly folded the top sheet over it so it wouldn’t tickle her, and closed her eyes. The darkness behind her eyelids was heavy, and her bones seemed to sink deeper into the mattress. A deeper heaviness than sleep. But she wasn’t ready for this yet. She wasn’t ready for this change, and so she fought it like she had every night for the last three months.

With her eyes still closed she drew her attention around the room she was lying in — her room, she had to keep reminding herself — repeating a journey she’d made physically many times that day, and for many days before that.

On her day trips around the room, she would touch the trinkets she’d brought with her to this place when she’d moved out of her last home, trying to recall the story behind each of them. Some days she would remember; some days not. Some days seeing a particular object in this place would bring to her an image of it elsewhere — an old house, the hands of one of her children, the store in which she’d bought it. At times she was not sure how many of these trips she made in one day. She’d look back around the room, trying to match the small new memories — a fingerprint in some dust, the way the light fell on a picture of her husband — with what she saw now. But she could never be sure if those memories belonged to another day, or to half an hour ago.

When she made the trip in her mind’s eye, warding off sleep and that bone-heaviness, it was like all the day trips became one. She saw each object a thousand times. The memories — old, new, real, invented — crowded inside her head, keeping her awake for what was probably hours. She floated around the room, and through the many years of her life, until she eventually went towards sleep.

Tonight, however, the heaviness loomed. It sat at the edge of every memory, cast a shadow on every object, every photo in the room. For the first time, the room in Audrey’s mind felt small, and she found herself wanting to go elsewhere. Not to escape the heaviness, rather to find a way to let it in.

For a moment she thought of all the faces looking down at her from the frames on the walls, and how what she was about to do would change them. She hoped they were ready.

~

This is my response to this month’s Monday Project theme. There’s been a bit of delay this month, but we should have the other responses up later today, along with the new monthly theme.

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Theme: An agent for change | the monday project

In case you missed the new Monday Project theme yesterday, here it is. Responses to this theme will be due Monday 4 July.

Theme: An agent for change | the monday project.

An Agent for change

I’m really not sure where I’m going to go with this one… I’ve used the last couple of themes to explore some characters I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while now. I guess I’ll probably find myself doing the same thing for this month’s theme.

Come play along. You know know want to.

The Monday Project: Storybook

The book sat open on the floor between their beds. Liam didn’t know how to read yet, but he could look at the pictures. Adam had been able to read some of the words.

Earlier in the evening, Liam had taken the book out to his mother.

“Mummy?” he offered her the book.

She had looked at him, eyes wide and glistening. She walked away from him.

“Mummy?” he had called after her, his arm still holding the book out to her.

“Liam, leave her alone,” his father said from behind his newspaper. “No book tonight. Bed time.” Something about the way his father’s voice struggled to leave his lips had made Liam run.

He opened the book and sat on the floor of the bedroom. The story he knew – it was their favourite book – but he didn’t know the exact words, and it wasn’t the same if it wasn’t in their mother’s voice The booked stayed on the floor when Ben crawled into bed and pulled the covers up under his chin.

“No book tonight, Adam.” The empty bed didn’t reply.

Liam lay on his back, looking at the light bulb, letting it burn a white spot on his eyeballs, one that he could see when he closed his eyes. He liked to do this so that when their mother turned out the light he still had a little bit of it to help him go to sleep.

This night, however, no one came to turn out the light. Liam eventually fell asleep, their mother crying in the next room, and their father’s tense voice droaning behind it. He dreamed of reading the book down at the dam at night, with only the light behind his eyelids to see the pages.

This is a submission to a monthly creative project for The Monday Project (this month’s project is Storybook); this is a site I run with my friend Kate. Come and have a look!