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the gift

published: 2012-12-05

There was a bag on the floor. It was a small duffel bag, black. It was heavier than it would seem as it looked empty. The top half was dented in its own air.
With my foot, I shifted it slightly. Then I kneeled by it. I felt hesitant. On zipping it open I discovered a gentle face. That of a young woman, with fine features, turned to stone. Her face was at peace within the solemn quietness she rested in. Dust had collected in the folds of where her nose meets her cheeks, and in her neck.
I could have zipped the bag up again and left her there. But I wanted to hold her. And so I leaned forward, put both my hands around her shoulders and lifted her up out of the darkness. She was heavy, but it didn’t feel like an effort. It was as if she had been waiting for me for over fifty years. And as I tilted her up and placed her upright on the table, I discovered her eyes were open. Had I seen it wrong? She isn’t grey, but a pinkish taupe. She has flowers in her hair. She is smiling now. She has taken with her: consolation. As if life was released along with her. And it fills my house.


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