A short story by Charlotte Moody

How I watched with impatience and bewilderment as she meticulously
spread her handkerchief on her lap.  Those, oh so familiar, pink and
blue flower prints with the crocheted lace that always hangs off one

Repeatedly she spread it out with both her hands as if she was
mentally ironing it with her warm hands.  After she got it to the exact
smoothness she needed, she began that painstaking journey of
folding it.  First, she folded it in half; once again, the “ironing” process
took place.  Then it is folded one more time, and “ironed” to achieve
that final little square shape which affords it the perfect spot in her
chest of drawers. It always amazes me that these perfect little squares
seem to command the top drawer or as an absolute last resort, the
second one, but never a bottom drawer.  That would never do.

There she tucks it away until that special occasion arises when she
goes to that exclusive corner of her chest and brings it out to use;
use?  Does she “use” it?  She dare not….for this would be the
ultimate violation of such a beautiful accessory.  She will clutch it in
her frail hand so the crocheted lace can still be seen, or tuck it
perfectly in her sleeve allowing, once more, the crocheted lace to
protrude, ever so slightly, from the sleeve to rest gently on her wrist.  
Sometimes, that handkerchief nestles inside the bodice of her clothes,
next to her breast where she finds comfort in knowing it’s there if she
needs it.

Now I begin to imagine the delicate “handkerchiefs” of my life.  Oh, not
literal ones, but the ones tucked away in my memory drawer.  A first
kiss, a first broken heart, and the first time someone made me feel
special.  What about that time I realized I was a woman responsible for
a family?  Where were those memories now?  Aaa, yes…the
memories of losing a child to death, marriages, more births, too many
deaths, losses, relationships, vacations, holidays, birthdays,
graduations, and the list of life goes on.

Then I realized they are all perfectly folded and tucked away in that
special “drawer” of my heart and life.  I can go get them anytime I
need to, anytime I want to and even those times I don’t want to visit
that “drawer”, but life seems to compel me to do so.  I can hold them
close to my heart and relive them over and over again.  On days when
the pain of a memory is too overwhelming, I can place that memory at
my wrist where only the “crocheted lace” of that memory shows; for to
expose the whole “handkerchief” is not for this moment, not for this

Oh, to have only blue and pink flowered memories that have been
smoothed and folded so perfectly with the crocheted lace showing in
all its crisp whiteness while sitting perfectly in that exclusive corner of
that special drawer.  But, alas, we all know some…or is it most, of our
memories aren’t such.  They have tattered edges, faded flowers, torn
lace and they somehow never did get smoothed out, but were rather,
thrown in any drawer of the chest along with other articles that did
further damage to them.

That is the reason why when we retrieve those “handkerchiefs” of our
lives, we can never conform them to a smooth, pristine “handkerchief”
again. By its very nature, it is a memory and will forever remain one.

If we are to have beautifully pressed, smooth, perfectly folded
“handkerchiefs” with there crocheted lace dangling delicately from one
edge and tucked away in that special place, we must create them
daily.  They don’t come that way, they are produced by skilled,
creative hands for our choosing.  How I wish I had handled each of my
choices of “handkerchiefs” with more consideration, tenderness and
care.  Then, when I tucked them ever so lovingly in that distinctive
drawer of my life, I would never have to fear finding them damaged
and in disarray when that particular occasion arose when I might need

In the mean time, life is a succession of smoothing, folding and tucking
away of “handkerchiefs”.  In what condition will I find mine as I pull
them out again and again?

The End

©2006, Charlotte Moody
All Rights Reserved.
Charlotte Moody
is an award-winning
gospel vocalist
.  She has
graciously allowed me to
publish some of her
short stories here!