Spencer was ignoring the voices coming from the kitchen. He was snooping around in the house. Killing time. Waiting for his mother to arrive. His Grandma lay in state in the parlor and the service would begin as soon as the rest of the guests arrived. It was to be an old style funeral.
He studied the books on the shelves. Muted colours, leather bound tomes, for the most part. Only a few were titled in English. Most were in the old language, the language that Grandma had commanded. He spoke no more than a few words of it himself. Mom was better at it but when Mom spoke it; it sounded stiff, stilted, halting, as she searched for words. When Grandma had spoken it, it flowed smoothly and softly from her lips. It sounded like music or poetry when she wielded it. It was beautiful.
When he had been a child he would crawl up on her lap and she would tell him stories or sing to him in the old language. It was soothing, even though he could not understand the words.
A flash of bright colour, seemingly out of place on these shelves, caught his eye and he reached for it.
It was a photo album that he couldn’t remember ever having seen before.
On the first page was a sepia photo of Grandma. A much younger Grandma, to be sure, but unmistakably her. In the photo she had probably been in her early twenties. She had styled her blonde hair in soft curls cut about shoulder length. She stood next to a rough wooden table; and wore flared riding breeches with a light coloured and loose fitted cotton blouse tucked in at the waist. A shiny brass collar button held the blouse together at the top. Grandma was pointing to the button and smiling, she was clearly proud and happy. There were three other young women in the photo, dressed in a similar style to Grandma. The table was littered with small glasses and whiskey bottles. Spencer recognized none of the other three young women. He only recognized Grandma.
Sewn with a purple silk thread to the page, below the photo, was an old brass button, tarnished and worn. It was impossible for him to be certain but it might have been the button in the photo. He would have to ask Mom about it when she arrived. He tucked the album under his arm and looked up at the paintings above the shelves.
I began writing at 0239 MST, I wrote and edited until 0309.
I don’t think I got a story but I hope that I captured a moment.