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Friday
Oct012010

Setdressing

I.
A basement paneled in wood. Sneakers making a tock-tock-tock sound down the staircase. Off to one side, a greenhouse filled with ferns; in the corner of the greenhouse, an old sewing machine. Shelves piled high with games: Concentration, Othello, Operation. Games that buzz and clack and pop. Books in German and Russian. Upstairs, a terry loop bedspread, pale violet and blue floral pillowcases, a green velvet couch. Sepia photos in frames on dressers. Drawers full of silk scarves and soft cotton tops. Dial soap and Archway cookies. The hum of a flourescent light suspended under cabinets. Klondike bars in the freezer.

II.
A hallway lined with red lockers, slamming at unpredictable intervals. Combinations commited to memory being spun deftly with a left hand. Cutouts of Keanu Reeves, quotes from Robert Smith and Michael Stipe. Paper bag covered textbooks and binders scribbled on with Bic pen pulled quickly from a heap of papers on the top shelf. A mix tape. The smell of Love's Baby Soft and peppermint lip gloss. Further down the hall, formaldahyde creeping through a vent in the biology room door.

III.
Rubber skate guards thrown under a bench painted glossy red. Plexiglass marred by galvanized rubber puck nicks. T-stop ice dripping from a metal blade onto the rubber floors. Rental laces graying from renters' hands pulling them tight around wool sock-thickened ankles. Wide-eyed kids from church groups wearing sneakers and chasing a rubber ball across ice with brooms. Dimes under the hot chocolate machine, scraped free by a hockey stick. Caramels with a creme center under dim vending machine lights.

IV.
Two beds against perpendicular walls. Quilted headboards. A closet with sliding doors, sash windows with double panes. Flannel nightgowns, sleep in the corners of the eyes, whispers in the dark.

(Prompt: a couple of old pictures sent to me by my cousin, plus these calendars, which reminded me of the aforementioned pillowcases. [via] See also: someone else's picture of the sheets my parents used to put on the fold-out couch when guests came to stay. There's something about bedding patterns that sets my memory going, and then I feel like I need to set dress everything or it might disappear forever.)

© Zan McQuade. All rights reserved.

Reader Comments (2)

I love this.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Brown

Number 3 sent me straight back to my pre-teen years of figure skating lessons at the local rink. Thank you for the nice reminder.

October 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShilo

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