She walked round and round expatriating her anxious whisperings…

Nit. Knit. Knot. Not.  I have seen that leaf before. I think it fell right before my door. So why is it here? My house should be near.  When I hear the sound but can’t match its hue, those around me go boo hoo.  But what do I care, I don’t even know the color of my own hair.

A fireman arrived. He seemed ready to fetch me my prize. What game was it that we played?  Was it only earlier today? He asks, “Are you lost?”  I say, “No, no. I had noodles and sauce. Right here. Close. Near. With my daughter who is not always a dear.”

He put his hands in the corners of my pits, as if to pick me up in a blitz.  I say, “Sir, I do you no harm.  Take your hands away. You are causing alarm.”  “Ma’m,” he says to me slowly, as if I was deaf, as he pulls up the hip of my heft, “I am worried about your knee.  You seem to have struck it against this tree.  I want to be sure you are safe and secure. Please take a moment to rest. And be assured – I came here to help in response to your yelp.  It is my job to transport you to the people who support you.”

Who are these people all around me in town? Don’t they know I wore a gown – wedding and graduation, and once at a party. I don’t need their assistance; I am quite hearty.  I live alone. My daughter is grown, and the “alte kakers” I cared for have all been sown – back to the earth, or in the case of my mother, into the waves, so her ashes could flutter. 

It is easier.  Less sound, less moving around, less reason to wonder how I can be found.   Back in my old house before I was abducted, I often played hostess to people my daughter called “the grossest.”  Peter and Allan and a guy called Scallion – vets with pets.  We all walked the marshes, rooting and looting. We drove out the louses with which war had doused-us.  “Just be around. See what you see. Don’t worry about me.  I will watch over all, you three.” 

 It rushes back –  my competence and brilliance.  I almost forgot until I look up at this officer, and see his last name is Rott:  “Excuse me. To you, I am Doctor Salvatore.  That is a name you say with a roar.  I may be lost. I may be bruised.  But that, I can tell you, is not any news.  I earned this doctorate.  Even if you think I am oh so belligerent, I can tell you that I am quite alliterate.  I live in the city, brimming with pity, for all those not privy.  It has been my ever rising comfort to stand with them, forming a tree trunk and not just a stem.

All this fuss for just a little muss.  Some skin and some scrapes.  This is such an intrusion on my personal contusion.   “Quit resistin’,” and, “Just leave me here.  Right where I fell.  My daughter will come when I yell. She knows where I live. She knows how I give.  She is the one who builds me my bridge.”

When I get home, I must remember to take the laundry out. First comes a sock, then a tee. Another one will surely get by me.  Not a matched pair. How did that get in there? No bother. The weather is nice. Won’t even think twice. At night, I leave food just to be nice. My daughter says it is un-clean. But to me those mice are my queen.  Regal and royal, sweet and loyal.  They fill my heart with a warmth, not a boil.

©Gabriella Strecker, 2016

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