Bottles and Jars

February 6th, 1965, 9am

Clinking of empty glass. A search for left-over, unused lids. Too many drawers, too few systems. She was sure she saved them but where were they now?

The problem with this new place was that nothing was ever where she felt it should be. Not in the supermarket, not on the street, not in the gable-roofed structure now called home. Her instincts were all awry. At least the altar in the church was at the front, pews facing it, the holy water by the door. Wall-to-wall carpet notwithstanding (presumably marble was hard to find here) and general lack of gold-plated, ruby-encrusted, rococo-ceilinged opulence, Jesus was still hammered to a cross, loin-clothed, his body still transubstantiated. The mass was in a language she more-or-less understood.

Everything else - right down to the anaemic vegetable they called lettuce - was altogether uncomfortable. A forced smile. An undeserved decouple of Hail Marys. A descending stair, even, of diminishing expectations. She didn’t know enough to know a sense of entitlement, so was in no position to decry its seemingly impossible, continued retreat. But she could feel the edges of who she used to be shrinking. Smaller and weaker and quieter. Soon, perhaps, she would disappear completely. Atomise into the humid air. She wondered who she could properly blame for this.

But meanwhile…

Maybe children would help. Maybe next year would be easier. Maybe the 200 empty beer bottles, 18 cases of over-ripe tomatoes, and new-fangled clamp contraption for wrangling bottle tops, all of which stood facing her expectantly, ready to summon the pureed old-country red, maybe they would shore her up a little. For today anyway. For as long as the batch lasted. For as long as one bit of housework led to another.

If only she could remember where she put the damn lids.

David Wade said thanks.

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Carla D

I'm a European Australian. Weltschmerz is a family legacy, but I know how to surf. I like to take photos and tell stories.

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