She would pause in her stories, ask one of us girls to get her smelling salts. “I feel faint,” she would say. And from her vanity one of us would snatch the small silver container filled with ammonia so she’d keep telling her stories. With a sniff of it, she’d sit up straight again, the bulk of her with those green, green eyes, eyes that could hold a child, midbreath, between the future and the past. “I’m not long for this world,” she’d say, like a prophet. “You need to know from where you came and to whom you belong.”
That was the sound of history. This is the sound of history. Like the catalogue of ships in the Iliad, you are not expected to remember particular names, only the sound of the names rolling along as you listen to the poem. Every history is a song, and this is what ours sounds like.
My novel, An Elegant Woman, coming, June 2. Help a friend, help a bookstore — pre-order today. Buying options HERE.