by Sophie Eden
By 7:32 AM the old lady had begun to clean her jars. The light was just so that she could see every blemish and particle of dirt. She cleaned the lids, too. She removed every bit of dust from yesterday’s cleaning. Since the lids twisted on, she had to be sure to clean in the ridges, too.
Organic tomato sauce for pasta, strawberry jam for toast, olives for when friends came over. Jars from everyday eating. A collection of past meals. The labels were worn off. The glass was hard and smooth. Most were clear. A few were tinted dark green or brown.
She planned to use the jars as a glass Tupperware for other food, but it was quicker to grab the plastic. Glass was better. She didn’t like microwaving in plastic. The jars would be vases. You could see the roots of basil and parsley. Fill it with water and stick an avocado seed in it. A glass water bottle. Or you could make those colored sand mixtures. A pretty dust collector. Store flour and nuts. Make trail mix.
The plates and bowls were on the right at the bottom. The glasses and mugs next to them. She could reach them easily for everyday use. Another row had wine glasses, glass corks, and heavy crystal bottles for liquor for the rare parties. All empty. She put the jars up on the top shelf. The laminated compressed wood was slightly bubbled due to the residue moisture from washing the glasses. It was the only place where there was enough room. She used to ask her daughter to reach up for her, but now she used a plastic stool. She didn’t trust chairs.
Large to small, she made a row. Then she layered the row as the photographer would layer children in school pictures so you could see everyone’s faces. No one left out. Tomato sauce jars were the majority. Spaghetti was always easy to make. There were jars from sun dried tomatoes, too.
Cleaning would take the better part of the morning. The rest of her day would be filled with reading The Five Agreements and The Power of Now, shopping, and calling family. If it was Sunday, she would go to church. Today she wrote in her diary. There was the scritch of metal on paper. At some point, the pen fell on the floor.
The home phone rang. Dust collected on the jars, on skin. It was a few weeks before a friend stopped by. The door was locked. The police came. Her funeral was held several days later. Some people from church showed up. Her family was in Canada.
The minister’s sons were hailed to help clean her house. Some pictures of a girl in middle school, a young version of the lady with her sisters. Clothes to Goodwill. Knick knacks in a bag. The cabinets of the kitchen were opened.
“What the hell’d she do with all these jars?”
His brother shrugged. He held out a big black bag over the counter and the empty memories were swept in. Glass clinked and crashed. Shards poked out of the plastic. He shook out his hand and put a finger to his lips, sucking the blood. They double bagged the trash. The jars were thrown amongst a mountain of plastic guts spilling the wastes of life.
About the Author
Sophie Eden moved to Santa Barbara, California in the summer of 2013. She is in her second year at Santa Barbara City College and plans to transfer to a University of California in the fall of 2015. She is majoring in English and would like to be a writer.