Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lost and Found

“Where are my keys?”

A whole family question that James dad asked at least once a week. A question hoping for answers it didn’t get from the back room where James mother separated the unmentionables from the clothes you could talk about, from the upstairs bathroom where his sister committed early crimes of beauty or from the back steps where James sat now.

James knew where the keys were supposed to be—on top of the hall table with the inkless pens, partly gone-over fruit, the math book with unreasonable fractions, overstretched hair bands, and the dusty cardinal

salt n pepper shakers that his mother only used on red-themed holidays.

Next to and just above this scatter of unrelated things made by related people was a key hanger from Aunt Cindy, a rectangular plaque with metal hooks and “Keys” carved or maybe burnt into the wood, perhaps so it might never be mistaken for a tie rack. The only keys hanging on it were to things that were lost or broken. Despite its nearly vacant purpose, Aunt Cindy’s gift would not be removed, not as long as she came to visit and would notice. IF there was a next Aunt Cindy visit, now that James parents had decided to be-apart-for-awhile-because-they-had-to-think-about-things-James.

“Keys? Little help…anybody?”

His father sounded more needle-y now as if turning up his voice would guarantee a response. It didn’t. James thought about another easier time when no one knew where the keys were. His sister found them in the refrigerator lying right on top of the mozzarella. “Moz-za-REL-la,” James spoke a little bit out loud. It was a good word to say, especially all by itself with no other words near it, the best was the “REL” part. “Moz-za-REL-la,” James repeated as he walked away from the house of unanswered questions and into a morning shined up by the night’s rain. He thought the thoughts of a boy on his own time….

…Like how good cereal tastes when you first put milk on it but doesn’t even one minute later when the milk gets too far into it. How balloons lose a lot of air even if you keep them in your room in the closet and nobody touches them overnight. How cats could change their minds about liking you in two seconds but dogs couldn’t. And then, because his sneaker lace loops were too big, James tripped and fell.

James didn’t cry. In 4th grade the ground isn’t such a long way to fall yet and besides, no one was around to see. Instead, James took the accidental opportunity to get where he already wanted to go which was level with a cool, soaked earth. A water bug danced on a puddle nearby. James tried to go eye to eye with it until he realized he didn’t know where its bug eyes were. Before he could figure it out, the bug lifted off into sunlight too bright to show James where it went. He accepted it with unselfconscious awe and no regret.

James sneaker was already up to the next thing, toeing a hole into the wet ground two paces beyond Mr. Murphy’s crabapple bush. The number of paces was how a pirate gave directions to his long buried treasure. Paces were Genius! to James because, even if a dirty map thief came along, the only way he could find the treasure is if he had the exact same size feet as the pirate who buried it. James didn’t need a map because his feet wouldn’t be the same size next year as they were today and because he didn’t want to come back.

The dirt of the treasure hole got drier as it got deeper and more stubborn. James put his full attention into the work, his young brow decorated with scuds of dirt and sweat-made mud wiped from the back of his hands.

He wanted the keys to go away for good, to trust this hole with no reminders of how to find it again. Because if the keys disappeared without paces or pirates, even if James had to hide his stealing inside for all eternity plus one day, it would all be worth it to keep his dad…home asking whole family questions, in regular and sharp tones if he wanted, on or off holidays with red themes and salt n pepper birds. The keys dropped from James hand like the last tear of someone tired crying, down into a hole that had to be quiet forever.

As James was covering the keys as fast as he could so he could begin to forget where they were, his father stopped asking questions. Instead, James father began looking and feeling among the still life of discards on the hall table. In the time it takes to break a heart, he lifted the math book of unreasonable fractions and picked up his wife’s extra set of keys.


Tuesdai Noelle said...

Hey :)

And WOW. I was glued to the last 2 paragraphs...very good and intense. I could definitely feel the inner emotions and capture the very thoughts "in the moment" of James. I'll be looking to read the continual chapter of this story. Always a good read.

Have a groovy day :)

Cloudia said...


Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Sil.. said...

My dear, come leave a hug you both. Cheers always!!!

Val Wilcox said...

Wow, the workings of a small boy's mind to keep his Father from leaving. Great post!

NURA said...

hello Madama
nice post
key is necessary, so your keys but the benefits of small objects
thanks follownya
I was there at this follower

maria said...

very evocative -your words are full of detail and imagery

Isha Shiri said...

Hello dear!

His visit is always very special to me.

His poems are beautiful and has the essence of purity! I loved reading all, they help to understand love.

Peace to all.

Andri Alba said...

Certainly, poor James, his dreams fell down when his father got the other set of keys!

And yes, full of details, very nice story.

Nice day,


Rajesh said...

Beautiful post.

Isha Shiri said...

Yes, indeed! I read it is near Chennai when I chose this photo of SOS Pondicherry.

- That comment aboce, about the "poem"... I put on your page? (Laughs :)

You'll excuse me? Because it was for someone else. But I admire very much your blog as well, you know!


anita said...

Truly gripping storytelling. Who wrote this? Sunshine or Baba? I'm curious about who is the writer. It's wonderful.

Kittie Howard said...

Wow, I echo Val and how a little boy's mind works. I love how your writing layers so many evocative emotions. Beautifully done...and looking forward to more!

Kittie Howard said...

When you have a chance, please stop by my blog as I have an award for you. Congrats!

Jani said...

Hi,how are you?This is intresting blog always!Welcome visit again:)

Warm greetings Jani from Finland

Gary Keimig said...

Great post. Great writing.

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Isha Shiri said...

Shalom Aleichem!
I miss your hugs and stories. kisses.

I'll have a few days away, Hannah will be born. She needs a lot of me now.

In recent days I posted about:
- Psalm we recite and singing at birth to babies, "Shir LaMa'alot - A song of ascents", psalm 121.
- The holiday of Shavuot (Pentecost) - Hag Matan Torateinu or "Festival of the Giving of Our Torah and Hag ha'Bikkurim or Festival of the First Fruits.
- "Letter to Jerusalem", by Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson. A letter explaining the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.
- Re-posted "The Meaning of the Word Tzedakah", do justice to the needy through charity is our obligation.
- The TikkunTree Project - a project to "repair the tree of life" using the knit dress for the weapons of peace, promoting integration of people from around the world, women and men, Arabs and Jews, point by point.
- Tikkum Olam, why we should contribute to "repair the world."

Anyway, I tried to leave messages for all to enjoy during my absence.

Thank you participate in my simple Blog.
See you soon.

Mary said...

Very nice and moving. Glad to know you off WebAnswers.

Gary Keimig said...

I have not seen any new posts for a while. I do trust all is O K with you and you will once again delight us with your writing.
God bless,

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Isha Shiri said...

Hi! I miss you, but I understand the lack of time. I also have gotten a bit away from the web. Hannah "tinoket", she has all my time!

Hannah, she is beautiful and healthy, with the grace of G'd. I'm happy for that.

May the peace be upon you and your family.

Madama said...

Hi and thank you all. I apologize that it has been some time since my last blog and I've got some ideas swirling around that won't commit--I know you've been there, right?

More to come when it sorts out. You all have been very inspirational for me and I'm simmering a few things that still refuse readability.

Thank you very much
Baba (Madama)

JIM said...

First time on your blog but will not be last time, started following. What a great story and you have an interesting way of communicating it

Kriti said...

Ok you have a new fan in me : ) Just love your writing style .... and the story and everything else. Following you now.