The aim: to get writing again.
The method: using Free Writing Prompts from this list, over the next couple of weeks. Today’s prompt is in bold at the beginning of the piece.
The time limit: 15 minutes
Location: the communal cafe table at The Drugstore in Summer Hill.
The stain will not come out, no matter how hard I try.
I love these old linens from another time. They belonged to a dear friend whom I loved. A hero, a model of hospitality and style, a pioneering spirit.
I could keep soaking the tablecloths in ‘Vanish’ – though I feel I should give that up.
I should sit and be OK with those echoes of cups of tea shared, or sipped quietly alone. At least they’re not rust spots. Rust spots on old linens are just a tragedy. Perhaps not a tragedy in global terms, but on the domestic scene those spots represent a fear of using special things. Keeping those special things, never using them, simply reserves them for the conquering advance of rust and the invasion of the moth.
Likewise, those sharp creases, where long ago the cloths were lovingly laundered, starched, ironed, folded and placed in the back of the linen press for an age.
Not so, these linens. They’ve been used. Cared for, but used.
I remember sitting with my conquering hero at her table, the table that is now my table, covered with one of these cloths. Both the cloth and I were cared for.
My hero was a real gem – a woman with the name of a gemstone – a rich, red, gem of a woman, living a rich, passionate life for the glory of her God and for others.
I miss her. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
But I’ll keep bringing out those cloths – dressing the table with the linen that gives a surface soft to the touch – not sticky like the varnished wood beneath it.
I’ll sit there by myself, making my own stains. I’ll sit there with others giving them freedom to make their stains too. ‘Vanish’ will get the new stains out. Nothing will get the old stains out. They’re fading a little with time and use.
I trust they’ll not fade too much. There’s memory in those stains.