|Inside Grandma's Dining Room|
There were two windows, with a clock between--remember? Where Mary Jane sat waiting for her mama to return from town. The clock ticked and tocked the minutes by like heartbeats that became more lonesome as time passed. She couldn't move, that little girl, so bound as she was to the waiting, as though she could work magic by her stillness and the listening to the heartbeats of the clock and of the rain, and gazing through the window down the road. But I've told you that before. Writing it didn't take it from me, though, and here it is again. Seventy years have passed, and here it still exists. The child cannot rise from her little chair underneath the clock and walk into the living room. Even more could she not take herself outside. Something that makes the magic of return might snap. Some silver cord. Might. Snap.
|The Clock, Grandma, and Some Mid-day Guests|
Mary Jane was a silver cord, a circle 8 in and out of this room. (Maybe this room is a metaphor--I hadn't thought of that) Maybe the child both kept and broke the spell, the way she brought the outside in and kept the inside out.
Does it amaze you how different outside is from in? When you think about the flowers, does it amaze you that the geraniums in the window boxes outside look tattered? When you think about the linen covered tables and chairs, do you wonder about the rutted road and the weeds in the grass? Are you even sure that I'm telling you the truth, and that you've seen the in and out of the very same place?
I don't remember if all this amazed Mary Jane, though I am quite sure she felt and obeyed the magic of it. The be-still-and-wait wound the magic cord around the ticking of the clock, the dripping of the rain, the vision of an old, old car twisting down the gravel road and taking time with it--taking Mama out. The child held that place inside, underneath the ticking clock, keeping the magic cord, watching the raindrops on the gravel road. Splashing. (I've told you this before. Remember. But it doesn't disappear. And it is different this time. Do you see?) She stayed in. She held the cord. She kept the outside in. The rain slowed and ceased. The car twisted up the road. It parked underneath the stained glass windows. And the spell did not break.