Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Time for Dinner

The bell, the chime, the ring, the dinner bell. A golden little woman with a hoop and a tiny piece under her skirt, her pitch high but soft as we shake her.

Time for dinner.

It’s time.

A cap on her head and a wide smile.

Who is she and why is she a bell? I wonder if she is Aunt Jemima - time for pancakes. Her face has a tarnish and I imagine she has a past filled with racism and stereotypes.

Time for dinner, it’s time.

Who else could be calling us to dinner?

She lived in the dining room in my grandmother’s grand apartment, sitting on the antique high boy where the silver was housed and the wedgewood lived, where the silver platters adorned the gleaming mahogany foundation. She was probably my great grandmother’s, or even my great great before her - the great great greats from the deep South, from St. Augustine Florida, where family mythology tells that my great great once had an African princess for a playmate as sure as she had a woman with dark, dark skin play mama.

Not my world, yet it’s time for dinner, it’s time.

My small chubby hands grow into slender, adolescent fingers and they clutch the bell, eager to announce that dinner is ready, my grandmother has cooked the feast herself.

Time for dinner, it’s time.

My world spins faster and faster from East Coast to West and back again, back to my grandmother, to take care of her when her own chime stops ringing, when she can no longer cook dinner, or tell me stories of the past, until she can no longer take a breath.

It’s time . . .

To clear out the apartment, to split her things between the sisters, or put into storage until the fates can decide how to sort, how to qualify a life when all that’s left is “stuff”.

I don’t want anything, and yet I can’t help put scoop the golden lady into my handbag. She needs a home, she needs refuge. She doesn’t deserve to suffocate in a box, to live in the dark, to serve no purpose. She was made to be a dinner bell, and should be allowed to sing.

What is my purpose, and am I doing everything I can do to live up to that? I can get too comfortable in boxes, sleepwalking my way through life.
It’s time.
It’s time.
It’s time.

Now she lives in my kitchen, and is rung every night around 7pm. Sometimes I wish I knew more of her story, but then I realize that she is still living it, just as I am living mine.


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