The yellowing scrapbook was the only thing Brad still had from before the house fire. Seriously. The only thing. He lost everything he owned and his parents and his kitten and even the pocket watch from his mother’s great grandfather when 4525 Evans Street went up on that peaceful February night seven years ago.
The scrapbook, his mother’s, happened to be on loan to the Evansville Friends of the Library Society as part of the sesquicentennial celebration of Evansville Township. Her lifelong habit of collecting town memorabilia in that dusty old book made it highly prized among the ladies of the Society.
Even though Brad was only 16 at the time, everyone in Evansville thought he might be unhinged by how hysterically he fought to get that scrapbook back. Mrs. Jameson even asked Reverend Satchell to bring the boy to his senses. After all, the celebration would be over in three weeks and then he could have it back. The good Reverend did have a private sit-down with Brad, but only mentioned the scrapbook in passing. Mrs. Jameson clearly had her priorities bass ackward the two men agreed over cups of tea.
Now in college, Brad so often spent evenings quietly paging through the scrapbook (instead of studying or drinking his face off like his fellow students) that the old scrapbook was disintegrating. Pages had begun falling out and the old clippings and notes in his mother’s careful cursive handwriting were fading. It hurt his heart to see this. That reassuring sense of Mother reaching out through the years on each page was diminishing.
None of that did a bit of good the day he came back to his dorm and couldn’t find the scrapbook.
He tore the tiny dorm room apart, flinging everything in every direction, rooting through to the back of the miniature closet and lifting the beds. Wild-eyed and hair on end, he rushed out to confront the RA, a self-satisfied senior named Raleigh, who stared dumbfounded at this maniac. Scrapbook? WTF?
It wasn’t the same, at least not for Brad, but maybe it would be someday for his grandchildren, this new scrapbook filled with his own notes and clippings from news articles that interested him. His wife, widely and happily pregnant, brought him the daily pile of newspapers. She didn’t understand but had other things on her mind. It was enough for her that this curious husband of hers stayed in with her every night.
Later, on the phone with her sister, she giggled about having gone through that weird book of his while Brad was at work, all those strange stories about astronomy and biology and engineering. And that key? Who knew? Oh well, if it kept him home and happy she was totally on board with gathering newspapers during the day and watching “Dancing with the Stars” on television by herself at night.
Some women had it a lot worse.
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved
In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image is that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept is Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.