The Things That We Carry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A fable of female experience

Submitted: March 14, 2015

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Submitted: March 14, 2015



The Things That We Carry

Rosa has standards. She regularly transgresses her own rules. Accumulating hard, rough stones of guilt, mineral rich: forged in her hot heart then stashed in a chest that she carries always. Daily, at least, she counts them slavishly like a miser counting her hoard: panicked and disorientated if the tally seems too low. Her stones are a burden, but they anchor her to her life. Otherwise she fears that she might drift away.

People that she meets, even people with whom she is intimate, assume that her chest holds treasures. Rosa knows differently but she is too scared to tell.

Rosa’s stones alter her dealings with the world, it’s hard to ignore such a weight and carry on regardless. At times she looks at down at herself from the ceiling. She sees a silly, obsessed old woman whose identity comes from wrong doing and self-righteousness. She could tell that old bag how to do things better: but she would not listen.

Rosa has one wish that matches the force of her stones. She wants to give her small granddaughter, Bella, a hug: a hug that is free of the chest pain, (Rosa is getting on after all and lugging it everywhere hurts her badly now). How to do this, that is the question?

‘Bella” says Rosa when the child visits at Christmas “can I give you a hug?” “Granny, put that big box down, then I can get close to you”. “And Granny can I look in the box and pick out a treasure?” Without warning Bella grabs the lid and makes to open it. Rosa’s heart races in terror. She must save her girl. She must stop the guilt, the shame spreading. She alone knows  the power of its contagion. Finding alien strength, Rosa seizes the chest, runs out of her cottage and hurls it down the mountainside. She watches it bouncing down, spilling its contents, for all to see, (in the unlikely event that anyone was looking).

Returning to her chair, Rosa takes the woebegone child in her arms. Bella had been looking forwards to a treat. Rosa begins to sing a lullaby. Surprisingly she remembers the words from long ago. Bella sleeps in innocence. A peace descends, and Rosa is still rooted to the earth.

© Copyright 2018 Ceinwen Cariad Haydon. All rights reserved.

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