Word Count 492
Heart of My Heart
By Sally Madison
Eleanor sat that Sunday afternoon in a faded day dress that only years of wear can produce. She had changed from her Sunday, store bought, navy blue dress and her hat with tiny blue feathers. Her daily praying had been completed as routinely as her life had been these last 21 years. The smell of her meager lunch of tomato soup and bread still lingered in the air. She rolled the gliding rocking chair, listening to the barbershop quartet on the Philco, “Heart of my Heart, I love that melody…” Her toe taped as her fingers automatically moved to the rhythm of the song, knit one, pearl one, knit two, pearl two, round the bend we go. Her memory learned as a child, threaded the yarn with the click of the needles. The soft light-weight wool soothed her soul, as she felt she was caring for her Tommy.
Looking down at her warn apron, she still recalls the day when Tommy came to her to show his loose front tooth. “Looka here, mama,” Tommy said as he opened wide to expose the dandling tooth to his mother.
“Which one is it?” she feigned ignorance. Her fingers wrapped in her apron surrounded the tooth and in a flash, it was in her hand before he could answerer. How he had obsessed over the other front tooth, when it was in a precarious position. “Better to be gone, than putting dirty fingers in the mouth,” was her excuse to his indignant dirty shocked face. Over time, it had become a cherished memory which only a mother and child can share.
Now, in her rocker, she felt the love begin poured into the summer socks that she knit, just as she had poured all her love in the cookies that Tommy would devour after school with his afternoon milk. She was not pleased with Tommy’s decision at the time, but Tommy had the need to prove that his blood line was an honorable as another, regardless of his father’s behavior. She tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined to make her proud.
The rhythm continued with the soft music, until there was an ominous silence, and then “We interrupt this program for a special announcement,” was heard from the Philco. Her knitting stopped, as well as the rocking. Her eyes focused on the wooden cabinet. “We have just learned that the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor! President Roosevelt has called a special meeting of his cabinet, the Senate and the House of Representatives! Stayed tuned for further developments.” The soft music continued, but fell on deaf ears.
Eleanor screamed, “Dear God, why have you done this to me! I can’t take it! I’ll do anything you ask! I’ll apologize to my mother! I’ll write to my sister! Anything you want! Her face in her hands, she cried hysterically for her broken heart. Her mind blended between the present and the past.