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Have Broom Will Travel [memoir]

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Halloween 1995, Batman and me
My history is littered with Halloween fails. Before I became a mother the question of what I was going to be for Halloween terrified me.


1958:  Halloween on a blazing hot afternoon in Tripoli, Libya. Age 5 All the military brats from Wheelus Air Force base were going to a Halloween party in an airplane hangar just outside Tripoli. Lots of civilian kids—mostly Brits and Yanks—whose parents worked on the base in various capacities were invited which meant my brother and I got to go too. Our dad, who spoke Arabic fluently and had been with British Intelligence during the war, had something to do with managing the PX on the base. My brother went dressed as a hobo, his cheeks smeared grey by my mother with a piece of burnt cork, while his friend, the older boy who lived next door, dressed up as a woman—a pillow stuck down his sweater shaped into clownish balloon-sized breasts and big red sticky lips. I went as Minnie Mouse in a cheap, cellophane-thin, store-bough…

That Last Dance


Thank you to everyone who reached out to me with suggestions on how to identify the man sitting next to my dad in the photo I shared last week. I've attempted to contact the Libyan embassy—who I have a hunch have bigger fish to fry—but we'll see. I contacted them on their twitter account which seems odd, I know, but the only way to email them is via a form which doesn't enable one to attach photos. If the twitter request doesn't get a response, I'll try snail mail.

Still thinking of my dad, I thought some of you might be interested in a 'thinly veiled' short story based on our father-daughter relationship that appeared in Purdue University's Literary Magazine SKYLARK back in 1992. 

With apologies to Joy for this thinly veiled attempt to piggyback onto British Isles Friday, the only connection being my British blood. 

Last Dance

Shannon squeezed some Lubriderm into her palm and took her father’s foot with its familiar high and bony arch in her other hand. She felt its weight slip into place, her fingers curling comfortably around the misshapen toes, the lotion easing into the parchment-thin skin. He would love the cool shock of the liquid seeping in.

“Ahhh,” he used to say, “such lovely, cool hands.”
“Oh, great,” she’d snorted but hadn’t minded, not really, rubbing his feet for a bit in front of the TV.
She’d been fascinated by the gnarled toes, the thick curling nails. The feet of an old man. Nothing like her own, soft and callous-free, peeking out petitely from under a pair of frayed and faded jeans. She hadn’t known then that her own feet would not stay shapely and pink, toes topped with delicate little pearls for nails. Had barely noticed the layers upon layers of nail building up, becoming brittle little by little, cracking and peeling with the slow and steady course of time, yellowing with age. She hadn’t known she would grow older too.
She worked one foot and then the other, gently massaging until all the Lubriderm was distributed evenly and then pulling the sheet back down over them and with a final caress looked up to find her father’s face. She wasn’t sure he’d felt a thing.
“There you go,” she said with one last pat.

Read the rest of the story


Comments

  1. I like it -- there's definitely a bit of British in there, plus a whole lot of love.

    ReplyDelete

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