The words over at Three Word Wednesday are figure, juicy and stress. Short piece this week, as I’m working on a longer piece, and sending out two others to literary magazines.
A cheery jangle of silver precedes my mother’s entry into the kitchen.
She pushes my hair back from the scalp and tiny charms tickle my flesh as she plants a sloppy mom kiss on my forehead. She angles for the coffeemaker, her wrist a clicky soundtrack of happiness.
Most of my friend’s moms, they wear a string of pearls or maybe a big, fat diamond necklace.
My mother wouldn’t be caught dead without that charm bracelet, a chunky band of silver with all sorts of little silver charms hooked to it. A dog, to represent our golden, Murray; a house, which actually looks like the place we live in; a little silver boy. You know, stuff important to her life.
But what confuses me is a single tiny key near the clasp. It’s not silver, but brass and looks like one of those old-fashioned skeleton keys you need to get into our attic, just a lot smaller.
The brass is shiny, but looks totally out of place, especially next to all that silver. She polishes the whole thing weekly, always taking special care with the key. You can tell it’s really old, and she fingers it lovingly between her thumb and index finger when she’s all stressed out.
The only thing I can figure is that it has something to do with the polished mahogany box that’s sorta hidden in the drawer where she keeps her bras and underwear and stuff. I asked my dad about it once, but he just gave me this weird smile and asked if I’d finished my homework.
Curiosity finally gets the best of me. I wait until mom takes the bracelet off to shower and rush to the drawer and try the key on the box.
The lid pops open with a slight turn.
Inside is a juicy, beating human heart. Its beat cadence rises to a electric thump as I hear my mother’s footsteps on the bathroom tile, heading this way.
“It’s your father’s,” she says quietly from the door frame, so as not to startle me. “He gave it to me on the night we met. He’s sentimental like that.”