By Chloe DeFilippis

March 12, 2018


If I put my ear to the hardwood, will I hear the shuffle of his steps? The Velcro shoes? I never saw him with his socks off. I imagine his toes like his fingers: thin with long thick yellowing nails. "To grab things with," he told me, placing a penny on my tiny palm. His hands smelled like his reminders: keep loose change and birdseed on you at all times. His movements were slow and careful, deliberate and with purpose. I can see him, some days, sneaking across our front porch, pulling the chain of his homemade lock, the door only few can open. And I imagine, sometimes, lying down in the middle of his now-gutted kitchen, pressing my cheek to the cold, dusty hardwood, feeling his presence move all around me, that he's still here.

Comments (9) - Post a Comment
so evocative! wonderful!
Julie Lambert at 11:49am EDT - March 12, 2018
My imagination branched with images and memories. This is a simple, specific reminder of memories that enrich me, make me human. Thanks.
Jennifer Hurst at 12:30pm EDT - March 12, 2018
I felt I was in the room with you seeing and hearing what you had. Well done!
Gladys Strickland at 1:43pm EDT - March 12, 2018
Thank you all for these kind and beautiful comments!
Chloe DeFilippis at 5:05pm EDT - March 12, 2018
"the door only few can open" — and you have left it ajar for your readers. How can I be missing a man I never met? He's there in the details you've chosen and the kinesthetic bookends you offer us. Thank you.
Laurie Klein at 5:07pm EDT - March 12, 2018
I am struck by the assumptions we make when someone wishes to remain unknown—instead of their attempted invisibility, they become immutable. The questions that remain leave a mark. Beautiful, Chloe.
Britton Minor at 9:17am EDT - March 16, 2018
I love how you use the word imagine, both times, as it opens a door for the reader to peer into the narrator’s experience. And the line “I never saw him with his socks off” is such a wonderful depiction of character and relationship.
George Such at 11:49am EDT - March 16, 2018
I loved discovering this individual by the fragments through which you knew him. Beautiful use of sound as well, particularly the reference to Velcro shoes.
Tamara Lang at 12:39pm EDT - March 18, 2018
This: "His hands smelled like his reminders: keep loose change and birdseed on you at all times." Brilliant! So good.
Jenn at 7:06am EDT - March 23, 2018

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