She got up that morning to cracking knees and a sore back; seventy years of mornings leaves an audible story in your bones. The coffee was already brewing; her daughter had gotten her a new machine that you could set up the night before and wake up to that unmistakable and wonderful smell. She liked that, but she also missed the morning task of making her coffee because it made her move around a bit before she sat down to read the paper and eat her breakfast. At this point in life, once seated, standing started to seem like a lot work.

Not that she was afraid of work. She had one of those pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstrap stories the politicians who had been born with silver spoons in their mouths were always talking about. May they choked on those spoons. They had no idea what bootstraps meant. What that kind of work meant. How it was always one step forward, three steps back, and thank god for the social safety net, because she and her kids would have been completely lost without it. Why were people adamant about taking those things away?

She saw that the world had changed, and that her daughter was able to be independent, financially and otherwise, for as long as she wanted to be. Not that her life was easy, but it was a different kind of hard. She wouldn’t be left without options if she was left by a husband. That was what she had wanted for her girl. That was why she had pushed and pushed for her to go to college. If she never used that degree, fine, but she was going to have it. Just in case. She was not going to have to raise children and work and go to school at the same time like her mother did.

After her husband had left, it had been lonely, but once the kids had grown and gone off to school, she discovered that she liked the loneliness. Her own space and her own time and no one to tell her what to do with it. She reveled in her friendships. They kept her going, kept her level, and helped her puzzle out whatever what running through her mind at the moment. Lots of things ran through her mind. But this morning, over her already made coffee, she was reflective. She had been lucky enough to make her hard work count herself and her family. That was the America she knew and the one she saw slipping away. Which was why today she had decided to go stand with the town’s Occupy protest. She wasn’t sure that it would do anything, but she was going to do something. She liked those kids’; they reminded her of the power of idealism and she had experience to share with them.

She finished up her coffee and placed the cup in the sink. She picked up the car keys off the hook by the door and left to go link arms with tomorrow and help connect it to yesterday.

To keep being creative, I ask friends (and readers!) to give me three words from which I will craft a story. I leave them fairly raw (i.e. little editing) and just like to see what comes of the connections I make with the words I get. If you would like to be my next Three Word Muse, click here! H/T to Anonymous.

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