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Cushion: chapter 1

The couch has too many cushions.

There is no sitting on this couch.

No rest happens here.

Cushions collected and discarded from other rooms land here; collect dust; prohibit comfort.

I’m writing a story. Or at least, I’m helping the voice in my head write a story.

(See, Justin, you aren’t the only one who hears voices.)

Sometimes the voice gets muted by life—or pounded away by the construction workers crawling over the house, the dog pawing himself into trouble, the kids’ need for my impeccable chauffeuring abilities, or a mountain bike team itching to ride.

She goes quiet, sullen. But then her raspy pack a day voice comes back, softly at first, and then loud, unforgiving. This week she visited three times:

  • In the backbone of gut punching conflict (do not extend excuses, young lady). I stood tall. I did not flinch.

  • In the unconditional love of a certain nephew of mine (do not let him give up. The cycle ends here). I stood soft. I cried so that he would know.

  • In the softness of a friend’s embrace (you are loved. Okay, now that you’re comfortable, get to work). I stood ready. Open.


Chapter 1:

I’ve been waiting for you to write our story. I’ve been waiting for you to care less about the jobs, the expectations, making a home, a family. I cannot tell my story, but you can.

I have been waiting since you were four years old. Do you remember how I would whisper to you?

Do you remember how your dad would wonder how you knew things? Like that last car ride? Or, my laugh? Or, the way I walked? I’ve been waiting for you to grow and stop shrinking. It’s time, young lady.

You know, you have other grandchildren.

Shhhh. Do you remember hugging Kelly Greene? You were in 5th or 6th grade.

How do you know this? You weren’t even alive.

Ha. That’s what you think. Back to the question. Do you remember her arms?

I do. She loved Purple Rain and wearing bikinis. She was beautiful and kind. I didn’t understand why she would hug me, but it felt good. We were in the same grade. She was much kinder and at ease than my school friends. Sometimes I would hug her back.

She was from me. I wanted you to be loved. To know early what genuine affection felt like.

How did you know I needed that? And why not grant me a boyfriend? Adam Carney would have been great.

You were shrinking. You needed a female’s comfort, not a male’s ambition.

You know I don’t drink anymore, right? I shouldn’t be hearing your voice.

That should be proof enough that we need to get started. Those mornings that you wake hungover even though you didn’t have a drink? That’s my calling card.

Grandmother, you are deranged.

Granddaughter, yes. That is true.


The cushions are now on the floor.

I will sit.

However, I will probably not rest

As I do not want comfort or to collect dust.


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