Legacy-the old door


Do you see it? That one, that narrow door that used to lead unto a balcony. He used to come and court her there. One night on this balcony before that door, amidst the lilacs and strains of Aznavour, he told her she would have to marry him or else he would take off all his clothes and stand naked on the balcony. And she laughed, frizzy tendrils of chesnut hair dancing about her calico dress, the night kissed the nape of her neck and she heard songs her mother would sing from her long ago France.

  One afternoon on this balcony, before that door, she sits down to shuck some peas. The air blows hot out here; she can feel waves of it, luxurious gold and liquid, not the overwhelming steamy heat of her kitchen. Against her back, the thin cotton strings of her blue checked apron cross over her muscles, traverse and intersect, run along her ribs, travel her back, her waist in a reassuring way. She knows who she is in the strings of this apron, she knows how good she is at wearing it.

  She feels strong and lithe as she launches into another bowl of peas to be readied for the succulent feast she will offer her family. Their green freshness is a delight through the hard work and heat. Her kitchen is a story in itself, an encyclopedia of lives, the pellucid scent of French lime pot de crème contrasting with the lulling starchy smell of the boiling potatoes.

 

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