In the Fold

By Ariana Brocious

November 7, 2016

In the Fold
She wields a basket of clean linen with easy confidence: one, two moves across the chest to make a towel into thirds, then a quick drape over the forearm to buckle it in half. It’s how she taught me to fold them, not directly, but through year after year of watching her. I do it now, just the same, in my own home. And each time I think of my mother.

Her mother, my grandmother, was a master of the impossible fitted sheets. Puppeting her hands into the rounded corners, swiftly finding the points. She deftly converted scrunches and wrinkles to smooth lines, the whole thing a neat, soft rectangle in moments.

I know the next steps: nest it nicely within its sister sheet, tuck the squared pillowcases in-between. Pile them all into an ordered stack to wait in the cool dark of the linen closet. Soon enough they’ll be called on to clothe a bed. Or maybe, to become a fort, a pale patterned ceiling spanning table top and chair backs, all crisp folds forgotten.

These are the unspoken things we pass down. Tacit instructions for simple acts of daily life, the keeping of a home. A small reminder of family, a soft and quiet inheritance. 

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