LABYRINTH: Eleanor Rigby By Sally Madison

Words: soil, found, labyrinth, bane
Word count485 words
Eleanor Rigby
By Sally Madison
She was five foot eight in her younger days, but time has not been good to her. At five foot four she stands in her stocking feet because her shoes do not fit any more. Her apron still has stains of her son’s blood when he lost a tooth. It’s thin fabric, where she wiped her hands after every task, hints of the colors it use to be, after so many cookies and birthday cakes. Her short gray hair is still cut like a bowl, the same as when she was a child. She had never been in a beauty parlor, nor on a train or airplane. She had experienced two Hailey’s comets. She recalls, the first comet terrorized the farmers. They thought it was the end of the world. They cried and they went to church, alternately. Promises were made to lead a better life. She remembers little about those days, except that it was the only time she saw her mother and father hug each other. But when the comet was gone and peace was restored, the Roaring ‘20s arrived and no one remembered the promises of the past.
Now, with shoulders sagged from a life time of challenges, she shuffles from rocking chair to kitchen chair in her tattered scuffs, back and forth… all day. The meals are not prepared as they once had been. No one comes any more. Bread and butter are good enough, or maybe an egg. As a kid, she and her siblings would eat ketchup sandwiches, they still taste pretty good.
Peaking out her window in the wee hours of a sleepless night, and sees a young man with the threatening baseball stick glaring at each car that goes by. He is hunched over and challenging, as if he was looking for a fight. Who is he after, she wonders, or who is after him? She shutters to think what will happen when he finds his target. As he comes closer into the street light, she thinks, oh yes, I have seen him before. He is the young man who helped me carry my pot and soil when the hibiscus died. He was such a nice young man.
The social worker is coming today, she frets. Last month he found mold on her bread but he did bring the kettle. He always wears that green tie. Green… that was the color of my dress. Her face softens with memories. Oh how happy that day was, the day she eloped with Jessie. She couldn’t have imagined that he would later become the bane of her life.
Her head snaps up, nerves electrified, ripped from the labyrinth of her memories, she hears the tea kettle whistle. At least the pot won’t be boiled dry this time.
Sullenly she wonders, how I ever come to live in this neighborhood, guns going off, people screaming in the night. Where did I go wrong? She knows and she regrets.

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