Thursday, January 11, 2007

FADED - The Scheherazade Project

The following is my latest contribution to The Scheherazade Project, 12/7 - 12/19 theme. Yes, I'm running behind - what's new? ;) Members of the Project, welcome - or welcome back as the case may be! Hope you enjoy the read. Comments/criticisms welcome!


I was practically done cleaning out the apartment now. It’s funny how an entire lifetime of treasures and memories can be reduced down to fit in a few boxes. And somehow I’d managed to evaluate her things – things she’d hung on to for reasons only known to her – and separate them into “keep” and “donate”.

I ignored the nagging feeling that it was wrong to dispose of things that had no sentimental value to me.

I’d spent countless hours here, and now the room looked foreign. The bare walls. The faded curtains. The bright square of carpet where the easy chair sat, framed in a border of slightly dingy crushed pile. I bent down and ran my finger around the dent left by one of the legs.

I picked up the last small box and scanned the apartment before leaving for the last time. I was leaving the oversized Degas reproduction for the landlord – I really don’t have any care for ballet dancers in my own d├ęcor … And then noticed I’d missed a few items on the mantle. A seashell bowl of pinecones and potpourri, and a mint green candle. I sat the box back down and walked over to them.

I studied them for a while and decided they were junk. The potpourri had no more fragrance and was covered in dust. The candle had been burned at some point but the small concave pool left by the melt was also layered in dust. It had blemishes and dents in its surface, and was slightly misshapen – like a pillar wedding cake that had no internal support. I picked it up and smelled it – if it ever had a fragrance it was long gone now.

I dumped the contents of the bowl in the trash bag, and as I did so I turned the candle over absentmindedly. The underside held weakly on to a piece of masking tape, brittle and browned by age – and on the tape was written a name.

My name.

Now why was that?

I mean, I knew she labeled things meticulously, it was her way. So I obviously gave it to her. Maybe for Christmas one year, or some sort of gift. I stood next to the trash and turned the candle around over and over in my hands, trying to remember. I couldn’t remember at all.

I held it over the trash, ready to release it. But I didn’t. I drew it back to me and looked at the label again. There was no date, which was odd for her … But the writing was crisp and smooth … Written before the days of arthritis and bad eyesight. I wondered when.

I wondered all the way home. Candle in the box with the other keepers on my passenger seat.

I burned the candle last night and tried to remember again. The candle still did not smell even with the release of heat. And I still can’t remember.

Oh well … does it matter? I figure it can’t hurt to keep something that doesn’t mean anything to me. It meant something to her.


Martie said...

Oh, I like many of us have been in a situation similar to this one over the course of the years. Very nicely done, Clew!


chesneygirl said...

Very usual! :)

Anonymous said...

Your imagery took me to a place I've never been. Thanks for sharing!

Vicky said...

I've seen your name through my husband and other's blogs. I'm a first timer to actually read your blog. I like your style. I'll be back.

Anonymous said...'ve impressed me again. Great writing Buddy!

bigwhitehat said...


Speckledpup said...

it meant you were a light in her life.
burn it anyway, the smell is memories.

great post.

Rebecca said...

I am always in awe of your writings. You, Naive, Stephen - you all are so great at being such vivid storytellers.

Sunny said...

Good viewpoint from specklepup, your being the light of her life. I love coming by to check on you darlin'.

Sam said...

Wonderful story! I loved the imagery and especially the line, "I bent down and ran my finger around the dent left by one of the legs." What an obscure thing to do, yet hints at her personality.

Lisa M. said...


Anonymous said...

Hey Clew! This is great! Visual, real, i can almost sneeze from the dust on the candle.

Kat said...

Hey, where is the new topic/story?!?! That's a cool idea, I like that website you set up to give ideas on topics to write about!

Rebecca said...

Hey Sistah, thought of you last night. Minneapolis had no shining talent. But so looking forward to Seattle's "interesting" competition!

Saur♥Kraut said...

This really rang a bell with me. It's funny, my ex-hubby's grandmother did that with all her possessions. Everything was labelled as to who was supposed to get it when she died. She always said it made it easier to dispose of everything after the funeral. And she was right. We all remember her fondly, BTW. She was a sweetheart.

Unknown said...

This was sweet!! I love it!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Brought to mind many memories of my mother & grandmother.

Miss you kid ~


Terry said...

I just saw you on Bill's site and have been looking over you blog for a few minutes.
Bad idea! These first few stories!!THIS is too early in the morning!!

If my husband and the cat were up instead of still sawing logs, they would be wondering why I was crying!!

Such sweet stories about your gramma...

You know Clew, so many times when I have been in a second hand store , I have seen discarded treasures just like this candle that you have been describing. Things like "paint by number" art, cheap salt and paper shakers,a chipped delicate china cup, "made in Japan", faded hankies, long since empty perfume bottles...just little stuff that a child would give to their mother or gtramma or teacher....priceless TREASURES and there piled in a samll heap just as if they were junk!!
"For Sale".
It always breaks my heart!
Because....Somewhere along the line one special person had placed such value on it!
Just like the lady in the Bible who treasured her ten pieces of silver...ALL valuable!!
I am SO glad that you took that candle home!

I think I will leave some time before I read some more of your blog!!

From Terry[Teresa]...still cold.. waiting for spring in Ontario Canada!

Have a lovely day!!!
And please excuse any spelling errors...TOO early in the morning!!

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