Ding dong. Ding dong.
I heard the sound and out of habit, set down my cup of coffee on the kitchen table and turned my head toward the front door.
Ding dong. Ding dong.
The sound again. Out of habit I got up and shuffled out of the kitchen, passed the dining room and and walked to the front door. I could see a woman smiling and waving hello through the window panes along the side the door. I raised my hand and mimicked the actions of the lady and smiled back at her. Then I pulled open the door and heard the woman said, “Hi, Evelyn. I’m so glad you are home. I brought pictures to show you from Anne’s graduation.”
This lady knows my name, I thought. I wish I knew who she was, I thought. This lady is smiling. Maybe she’s a friend of Michelle’s. I wanted to explain how Michelle was out, I think at the grocery store. But the only words I was able to force out of my mouth were, “Michelle…Michelle…out” in a stuttered manner.
The smiling woman, holding a small photo album in her hand said, “That’s okay. I came to show you my pictures from Anne’s graduation from UVA” and she started walking toward the kitchen. I followed this lady who seemed to know her way around my home.
We sat next to each other on the bar stools at the kitchen island and the lady showed me photo after photo of people posing. One was wearing a black robe and the lady called her Anne. “Isn’t Anne a happy UVA graduate!”
“Happy,” I parroted.
I pulled the photo album closer to my face. I saw a building in the background with a round, white roof. I remember that big building. I’ve been to that building. I just can’t remember what to call it. Then I remembered. It’s where Michelle went to college. I smiled and three letters escaped my mouth. “UVA.”
“Yep, just like your Michelle, my Anne’s a UVA graduate!” the woman said proudly.
Just then the sound of the front door opening could be heard. “I’m back,” a voice called. Once in the kitchen, she said, “Sally, it’s so good to see you.”
“I came to show your mom the pictures from Anne’s graduation,” the lady said.
“Oh, let me see,” and I handed my daughter the photo album.
Then I thought, “Michelle called her Sally…she must be a friend. I wish I could remember. How come everyone around me remembers and I can’t? How come everyone around me can talk easily and I can’t?”
I folded my hands tightly in my lap and looked from Michelle to the woman and smiled.
NOTE: I wrote this story HERE on July 21, 2015 entitled The Visitor. Then I have a narrator telling the story. I rewrote it today from Evelyn’s point of view. This was inspired by my friend, Fran M., who has written a similar story in this manner. Special thanks to another friend who gave me a peer conference and told me clearly, “If you want it to be 1st person, you have to use I.” Duh! But honestly, I needed that explicit feedback. This reminds me that as a teacher, we can’t assume they know how to write in 1st person and 3rd person and the explicit feedback helps. It definitely helped me. Thanks, Beth!
5 thoughts on “Evelyn”
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I love that you are “tinkering” with different perspectives on the same piece. It is truly liberating to experiment in writing. So important for our students to know that we are finding our way, too. Beautiful post!
This is an interesting piece, Sally. The writing in first person makes me feel like I am inside Evelyn’s head. She is confused, but still happy, it seems. Not frustrated…yet. Will we hear more?
Thanks for the feedback. That was what I was going for. And also to show what a hero Michelle is to her mother. Possibly more…she is such a dear friend but it’s a bit painful to write about as she continues to decline.