Just dust, everywhere around. God’s loftiest broom couldn’t sweep the dunes of sandy dandruff out of the yard, the town square, the empty church tower whose bell had been usurped for the bomb shelter effort – Not just a foggy dusting of the angles around houses but the whole world as we knew it was embalmed, prematurely buried, silenced. It was as if all that had ever been there was a desert. Even a desert, you’d think, would resonate sometimes with echoes or the odd diamond-dribbled bloom blinking up at the merciless, tearless sky.
We remembered the house. It was too much trouble to dig for it. So we let the old tabby Nelson die or dissolve invisibly down there, perhaps searching for silverfish amongst the old Twain collection. The family albums, though, we’d saved. We couldn’t open the crusty book in this dust that swarmed like the eighth plague; it would beat up all the old red-hued photos: Mom and the twins sprawled monkey-style on the porch swing with precarious cups of lemonade in their hands, it all had crumbled to prune skin before our eyes when we’d tried to reminisce a moment between blizzards. Now we sat.
“I wish we didn’t let Nelson die,” one of the twins sighed.
“Even if we’d brought him out here, he’d be miserable,” I pointed out. “Coughing, trying to clean the sand out from between his claws – but he’d never be able to get it all. Once he sat on his rump to lick his wrist, his butt would get all sandy. And then – ”
“Save your voice,” one of us reminds me. It’s true we only have about a perfume-bottle’s worth of water between us. I shut up.
The air is hard to breathe; exhales slink out my nostrils in wheezes. This is why we don’t make music.
Note: This random piece draws its title from the Merriam-Webster word of the day, which today is sedentary. The brief article sent by the online dictionary to subscribers notes that the current words sedentary, dissident, and reside, among others, derive from a Latin progenitor sedentarius. An inspiring tidbit…
Image credits in order of appearance:
By Silvio Rossi – http://www.fotopedia.com/items/xCxNAZV6M3w-MaT4YmJB2iA (Archive), CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34654542
By MezzoMezzo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29066135