“Memories” Trivet

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Object No. TK of 50 — Significant Objects v2

Object No. 20 of 50 — Significant Objects v2

[The auction for this Significant Object, with story by Gabe Levinson, has ended. Original price: $2.00. Final price: $7.00. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds of this auction to 826 National.]

Mom was thrashing so violently the night she died that she broke through her straps; her head repeatedly smacked the table while her muscles went renegade. By the time I saw how messed up this situation was, it was too late. I was in a fit of hysterics, the laughing kind, and I was helpless to save her.

Just a few seconds before, I was pouring a cup of tea and everything was fine… as fine as it could be when you’re spoon-feeding tea to your mom. One day her muscles started giving out. It’s been a year since I moved back home and the most dignified moment of her day is when she’s strapped upright at the dining room table for tea.

I don’t know what compelled me to look at the trivet before I set the teapot down just then, I really don’t. You know how it is when things have always been there. I grew up in this house, but for the first time in my life, for no good reason, I took notice: it’s a cartoon of a guy and girl pointing to a clock, looking at you with worry on their faces, pleading in their eyes, above and below this image it reads Now is the Time To Live Tomorrow’s Memories. I imagined someone picking up a hot plate and learning a valuable life lesson: Hey man, take it easy, cool it bro, now is the time to live tomorrow’s memories. And that’s what set me off: a hot plate telling me to cool it. I fell to the floor, teapot in hand, laughing so hard. I know how dumb it was, I know, but at the time it struck me as the funniest thing in the world.

Getting splashed with boiling water when I landed brought me to, but only for a second. Because then I picked up on the sound Mom’s head was making every time she struck the table: THOOMP followed by TA-GLONK (that being the trivet, which would jump in the air with each THOOMP and clatter down with its own TA-GLONK). The rhythm of it all just about did me in; the whole scene playing out like a Don Martin symphony: THOOMP TA-GLONK THOOMP TA-GLONK THOOMP TA-GLONK SKLORTCH.

It was the SKLORTCH that sobered me up; after that there was no THOOMP, no TA-GLONK, nothing. I picked myself up off the floor. Mom was facedown, immobile, on the table. I pulled her head up as gently as possible but something tugged back. I pulled a little harder and cried out when I saw it: a screw embedded so deep into the middle of her forehead that it yanked clean from the table. My mother the unicorn. HA!

Maybe you had to be there.


Gabe Levinson is the founder of the Book Bike and the editor of DEUSEXPAGINA, a weekly journal that reinvents the book review as genre fiction.

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