Grief and the Christmas season sometimes go hand in hand. Real grief plays itself in every day life just like we see in this story written for a Story Dam prompt.
Alma sat at the large wooden antique dining table staring at her hands. They were dry, cracked and showing some wrinkles. The gray in her muddy brown hair framed her face and gave her the appearance of being older than her 43 years.
“Grief does that to a woman. I mean it makes you age before your time,” she overheard her best friend telling another friend.
Was she aging faster since Mama died? It did seem her mind was slipping as she was forgetting simple things, like where her car keys were or why she had gone to the store. Sometimes she’d be in the car driving and forget where she was going. She felt as if she was in the midst of a heavy fog that refused to lift.
Alma reached for the pale red and white-flowered tablecloth that lay draped over the back of the chair next to her and pulled it close to her drawing in a deep breath smelling it. The fragrance of moth balls and her mother’s Sweet Honesty perfume lingered in the threads of the cloth. She knew it needed washing since using it last Christmas but that meant the scent of Mama’s memories would be lost forever and Alma couldn’t bear it.
Standing with the tablecloth in hand she unfolded it and noticed the familiar cigarette burn. Almost poking her pinky finger through the hole, her eyes filled with wet tears as she remembered the day her dad dropped his Winston on the cloth. He and Uncle Benny were sitting at the table, cigarettes in hand, beer bottles close and a broken clock radio. Daddy’s tool box sat open on the then new tablecloth as they discussed the repairs to make. Alma stood in the doorway watching and waiting for her radio to play again. The two men were deep in thought when Mama walked through the dining room seeing the toolbox and beer bottles sitting on her new purchase.
“What are you doing with all that on my brand new tablecloth?!”
Startled by the sudden outburst Daddy and Benny looked up, hit their bald heads together and Daddy dropped his cigarette burning a hole in the cloth. Seeing the cigarette singeing through to the table he poured his beer on it to stop the burning causing Mama to scream in a loud frantic tone.
“What are you doing?! Stop!”
“I’m just trying to put the fire out!”
“You two just get out of here!” She ran out of the dining room and was back in a flash with a towel to clean up the mess.
The front door slammed bringing Alma back to the present. Alma’s daughter Cindy walked toward the dining room taking off her jacket.
“Getting the table ready for Christmas dinner.”
“Here let me help.”
Taking hold of each end the two women spread the old faded tablecloth across the large wooden table. Cindy picked up the poinsettia flower arrangement to place over the cigarette burn as they did every year to hide the unsightly mark. Alma reached out to stop her.
“No not this year. I want to see the cigarette burn.”
Alma pulled out a chair and sat down. She rubbed hand over the burn and thought she’d wait one more year before washing the tablecloth.
I’m linking up with my new writing community Story Dam. The prompt was:
Wet Feet – Just by looking at all these pieces you probably already have few ideas for stories. Use only one piece and build the rest of the story around it. I picked the red and white piece. Obvious? I really hope so.