Bits and Patches
Jessica Schott-Rosenfield is 15 years old and attends Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in the creative writing department. She has been published the literary journal, The Ellipses.
1. Think back to a Monday afternoon, when the clocks were ticking more quietly than usual, but nobody noticed, because tomorrow was Tuesday and the garbage trucks come then, which means Dad has to put out the cans. Think about the grocery store that you go to alone sometimes because you’re big enough now, but that Monday afternoon you went with your mother and, walking in, you saw a container of pomegranate seeds. They were bright and shiny and you thought you wanted some but your mother said they had pesticides sprayed on them so you walked by, towards the lettuce instead.
2. The stone was cold when left on its special shelf, on a lavender scented pillow, dark brown from a distance but garnet up close. When picked up, it warmed between your fingers because it is a good luck charm and good luck charms do that almost always.
3. Usually it’s just the leaves people notice. They’re nice and green, chock full of oxygen and chlorophyll. They cover up the trunk, spindly and strong in turns. Forest scent is all their doing and tourists from New York enjoy forest scents. Sometimes the leaves have to work harder to cover the trunk because it has so much star quality. Especially redwoods. Redwood trunks have the most star quality.
4. Her necklace was like my good luck charm but many of them, strung together. She never took it off, not even for bed. I told her it was a choking hazard and she believed me, but still wouldn’t take it off. When I hug her it touches my forehead and it’s cold too, like my good luck charm. The morning is the only time when it’s warm. When it’s been pressed against her all night and she’s balanced her tea against it on her chest. I tell her balancing tea isn’t safe in bed and even though she believes me, she won’t pick up a coaster.
5. It’s a particularly cozy sort of color. Not dark and holeish like black, although one does find oneself ready to curl up in its presence. It’s like that velvet dress I wore to kindergarten graduation, the shawl we keep on the couch so it doesn’t get sun bleached, a glass of chardonnay, on Christmas Eve especially. It’s not like Santa’s suit or a song about balloons, or a blooming daisy or a duck, but if the duck ate berries, it would be. It’s a hike in Marin, but only when it’s hot and I’m running down a hill, and only when I know there will be someone at the bottom.
6. Our vacation house was sold last month, to a young couple who liked dogs more than cats. It didn’t have a barn, but when we got home dad painted the garage door a dark jewel shade of red to commemorate the hay bales and sunburn.
7. My mother named me Garnet vehemently, because it is a vehement sort of color, and she was thinking of it when I was born. Suppose she had been thinking of purple. I would have been a pansy. Amethyst is not what our family stands for, though we might have it in the planter out front as a decoration. And if she had been thinking of green, lord knows what would have happened. Garnet is January’s birthstone and I think it is appropriate that I was named for my mother’s month because I have her jawline, and sensibility.
8. I don’t like this color when it is paired with green and blue. It seems tied down on white sheets, and uncomfortable against nurses’ scrubs.
9. When it is too late to read, but too early to sleep, I find it hard to think of anything else but paper cranes. Some have snubbing noses but others are delicate like swans. It’s like that book about the thousand paper cranes: “There was not a speck of cloud in the blue sky. It was a good sign. Sadako was always on the lookout for good luck signs.”
10. Garnet is nothing if not the bricks in Bear Valley where our family friends hang swiss mice. It is nothing if not the flowers on the tree our dead cat is buried beneath, or the unswept living room rug, or the cover of a book splayed open on my bed, or the earrings I’ve worn more than ever these past few weeks. Garnet is nothing if not my name, and it is not my name for nothing.