Vignette: The Memory of Skin

The years of formation the metal spent in the frigid high mountains told it life was cold and dark.  Seeing the light of day, the hope of being formed into something useful was all the metal could think about.

Having no idea of its value, its hue or its purpose or what it could become, the metal only longed for the warmth of the hot coals that would form it — and to be of some service.

This was all a distant memory,  The ringing and the music, the cling, cling, clang, cling see-song of melody, the warmth of the woman’s gold skin had given it new life, new meaning.  It had been formed into five beautifully gilded bangles that all moved and functioned as a symbiotic memory of sound.

The bracelets, no longer just metal, but now forming a symbol of love and adornment, they remembered being with another woman, of blackberry skin.  She was the first mother.  The warmth of the mother was better than any other feeling they knew.

They held the memory of her life, just like they held and recorded the memory of the woman with gold skin.   They carried her memory and reminded the golden daughter of all of the love, the stories of the ancestors.  The way in which dinner should be made and prepared.  The way to hold and caress the face of a beloved.  The way to care for a child and heal the sick.  The way to protect and to warn.  They were a compass of life.

The bracelets had protected the mother until her time on this plane had ended.  At the end of her days, she gave the bracelets to the daughter.  The daughter would live with them.  They would record her life and all of her wisdom. Taking them off only at the end of her days.  Only to pass them on to a daughter or a daughter of a son.

Through 100 generations, the bracelets made sure the wisdom, the account of the lives they shared with the women was recorded.  Never to be noticed by the fathers.  Across the seas.  Through freedom and slavery.  Back to freedom.  They saw wars and blood.  Tears and life. Each moment meticulously recorded.

The music provided solace and company in the dark and lonely nights.  Nights when betrayal and death came to visit.  Nights when there was no sound, no music.  They would comfort and tell the stories of all of the mothers before.

When Ellie came into possession of the bracelets she had always been fascinated by their sound and the unusual markings on them.  There were five.  She remembered touching each of them and counting as her mother would wash her hair.  The sound.  It was like nothing she had heard before.  It was something foreign.  Special.  Rhythmic.  Almost hearing a word each time they came together.  “Daughter” she heard sometimes.  But the day her mother became ill, she handed them off to her.

The story of their history began to unravel upon her arm and through her body.  The history of the skin they had touched before Ellie.  The flashes of memory were like nothing she had known or seen.  Her heart broke and loved again a thousand times in a what seemed like hours but had only been minutes.

That was the last thing she remembered.  The memory of the skin, the memory of the mothers before her.

Author’s Note:  The base of this story was  written in a workshop with the talented author Bernice McFadden.  This was a five minute exercise.  I expanded the story using 10 additional minutes.  A friend, Gala (Hi Gala!) has been asking me to post this and I promised I would post it tonight.  I welcome comments and thoughts.


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