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(NOTE: This is a collaboration between musician/performer ellen cherry and photographer Bonnie J. Schupp. Bonnie sends ellen two photos every week and ellen responds with writing--a story, a poem, a song, a piece of music.)
In My Mother’s Arms
At 3313 Regent Street, Plano, Texas, there is a house that my parents had built in 1974 and it had these arches between the living room and dining room. When the dining room light was on, it threw shadows onto the living room floor. The living room had brown shag rug that I loved to run my fingers through when Bojangles tired of me petting him and moved away, I simply moved my hand down to the carpet. Not as soft as fur, but the repetition of movement was a comfort and he and the rug were almost the same color. Once, a small black cricket popped out from where I was combing and startled me, but it was so small and it stayed for a moment, on the top of single fiber of shag, and even though it’s an impossible memory, I think I saw it breathing and blinking it’s black eye. I must have been a giant.
The rug was pulled up and replaced with something shorter and less worth petting and the orange velour couch that was more likely another brown color, but in my mind is orange because it’s the color I prefer, was replaced by a sofa that could seat four--a stiff upright seating arrangement that helped us create the perfect family photo throughout the 1980s.
My father snapped a black and white photograph of me, in my mother’s arms, with a blanket around us both, sitting in a chair next to the front door. I still had my chubby forearms with my left thumb in my mouth and we looked at him, through the lens, no smiles but with loving eyes. I wonder what I was thinking and if I knew how warm and enclosed I was in that little sheltered world. It was a comfy Queen Anne chair that was moved every Christmas to accommodate a real evergreen tree that came from a place definitely not in Texas, and it surprises me that I can remember the name of a style of furniture when furniture is not my business.
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