Who says you can never go home AGAIN? Not Laura Elizabeth

Oh, Literati! Ms Elizabeth sent me this, saying she pared down a 1500 word story to conform to our contest limitation of 350 words…I can’t imagine this more perfect if it had more words to it. Little known fact: before his editor told him to behave The Old Man and the Sea was 600 pages. Eloquence is the art of saying the most with the fewest number of words. Tell Laura Elizabeth what you think…

Home Again

by Laura Elizabeth

I wish I could wake again tucked in the forests of childhood, in the cottage of chimney smoke, halfway up the gray-skinned firs. My house was a house of stone sometimes, of cold walls centuries thick. Times I’ve forgotten, it was a home of warm wood, family gathered around boughs crackling sap that binds the world together.

When I was five, I found a nest in the dryer vent, built entirely of innocence. Tucked in a blue lint blanket was one pink egg, a fragile orb of beauty misplaced by winged love, naïve of society’s heat. My mother placed it on the mantle, ignoring the cracked shell, the ruined yolk of potential.

Like me, an egg laid from love, but in the wrong nest. This was not family, this obsession with tasks and not hugs, words that hide instead of illuminate. Slap of sealskin slippers as my father chased me down the corridor of his past. Trees waited patiently outside, whispering, “This is family.”

I live on an island now, far from my father’s slaps and my mother’s absent presence. Flower-scented winds soothe, people wash their babies in the sea. Pulse of waves winds me younger like a backwards-ticking clock. “You’re Here, but you’re There,” they chant.

In the earthquake of his footsteps, remember a tiny pink egg, trying to stay warm. Remember the ellipses between the shouts…When colors were words, nursing white milk on a red deck under gray grandmother clouds. Walking with Daddy, twilight touching his bare head, vulnerable as an egg. Beyond now, before three, remember his bathrobe tie as a cord of connection, not a noose.

Sometimes, I sink into my husband’s bathrobe, soft as my mother’s cloud breasts. Other times, his footsteps sound hard and dead as sealskin, even as he kisses me awake. My yolk bleeds, oozing my secret self over the linoleum.

Twice in a while, there’s a short pause for breath…the whir of tiny wings. We lean tenderly, pick up the egg, place it somewhere safe. Not the corridor of the past. Here, Now, in this new nest we created: our Home.

15 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    “Home Again” is too magnificent in imaged words, phrases and Earthy richness of the author’s life experience in lyrical, poetic and natural expressions to spoil with a critique other than to say I am awed and appreciative of such a beautiful breaths of fresh air.

  2. Kenneth Weene

    Lovely. Enchanting. Filled with nuance and love. I could use a few hundred more words to say it, but to keep within the appropriate word limit, I shall add only that this brought tears to my eyes and a gasp to my throat.

  3. Thornton Sully

    This is why we write: we know that words, properly selected, brewed, sauteed, distilled, fermented, aged, baked, broiled—however they are prepared for our heart’s consumption, are the real soul food…and magic!

  4. Tiffany V says:

    Breathtaking. The framework is unpacked well and still soft even as you lean some harsh things of heavy weight upon it. Eggshells encased in beauty strong as steal and blood and bone.

    First rate.

    Absolutely first rate.

    • Laura G says:

      Glad to touch you with this work…Love your clever, insightful comment, which uses beautiful tricks of language itself!

  5. Laura G says:

    To anyone who wonders, the pen name protects my family and keeps certain folks from finding it on the web. Recent death in the family, treading lightly and respectfully!

  6. For me, the problem with reading great writing is that I’m hard pressed to adequately express my appreciation for it, and to the author. Laura, I will forgive myself of my shortcomings and simply say “Wow, thank you, this is yummy, I will read this again and again.”

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