Rachel S.

United States of America

Message to Readers

Hey! All feedback is welcome, but I'm especially looking for suggestions on how to make the ending stronger and how I might better distinguish between the three narrative voices.


November 29, 2018


1. Harry
    “You missed a spot, sweetheart,” Abigail tells me, pointing at a triangle of white in the corner of a sea of wet blue paint, like a lonely iceberg. 
    I lean over as far as I can—almost there—and then suddenly my feet are slipping from the ladder, and my butt and the floor become thoroughly acquainted with each other.
    I blink up at her and see amusement and concern warring on her face. I use the ladder to help haul myself up off the floor, and the motion sends blue paint sloshing from the can perched on the highest rung.
    “Harry!” Abigail shrieks, rushing to clean up the mess.
    I can’t help but laugh. “What’s wrong? It’s only a ladder.”
    “Yes, but that paint was expensive,” she tells me, scowling. I keep laughing even as I move to help her, and the paint drip, drip, drips down the wood.

2.   Connie
    I took a ladder from a couple at the dump today. Don’t try to tell me it was stealing. It’s not like they were going to use it.
    It had been sticking out of the trunk of a blue Toyota, temporarily abandoned, begging for rescue. Its owners returned, however, in time to find me trying to tug it out onto the sidewalk. The couple looked at me like I was crazy. Really, though, I think I might have been the only sane person in that whole place.
    The wife started to ask me why I wanted it, but her husband cut in. “Just let her take it.”
    I liked the way paint splatters cover the old wood. I could imagine that maybe the one on the third rung was from painting a new baby’s room. And the big blue one on the base—maybe the baby had knocked over a can of paint while learning to walk. There were stories there. How could people throw that away?

3.   Emma
    Mom left me everything she owned. That might have been great, if my mother had been someone else. 
    Her lawyer and I stand in the doorway of her junk room. She called it her “room of possibilities,” but everyone knew what it really was. 
    The lawyer steps further into the room. Brave man. “Where did all this stuff come from?”
    I wave my hand around vaguely. “You know. Around. She used to go to the dump and steal things from people’s cars before they could throw them away, if she thought they could be useful to someone.”
    He swipes one finger across the surface of one of the emptier shelves, and it comes away gray with dust. He wipes it off in his handkerchief in disgust. “She didn’t take very good care of it.”
    I feel obliged to speak for her. “She used to. She was too sick at the end to clean.” 
    He looks a bit ashamed, to his credit. “I see.” He picks up an old, dilapidated suitcase and makes a face. “I doubt any of this is worth anything. We could hire a junk service to come haul this all away.”
    I run my hand over paint splattered down the side of a ladder, its steps stacked with boxes. “No,” I find myself saying. I picture the way my mother’s face lit up when she talked about this place. “I’ll clean it up, and then… I’ll find new homes for it myself.”


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  • November 29, 2018 - 9:02pm (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • BlueMoons

    Oooh, I love the passage of time in this :)

    9 months ago