Happy Boomer Lit Friday, where once again we show you bits and pieces of our baby boomer books. Check out the lovely Shelley Lieber’s blog to see what my compadres are up to.
Here’s a smidge from Don’t Tell Anyone. Estelle, at the stove making chicken soup for her sons and daughter-in-law despite their protests that she’s still too weak from chemo, has just passed out.
It was nothing, Estelle said, as Adam and Charlie helped her onto the sofa. No need to call the doctor. She’d just been feeling a little faint, a little light-headed. It was probably because she hadn’t eaten today. Since nothing tasted good, she didn’t want to bother.
But sometimes, her senses of smell and taste returned, not evenly but in rushes, like a breeze through an open window when the wind changed. They came with memories. They came with no warning. The soup did it to her this time. She’d put in the water and the cut-up chicken, skimmed off the fat, dumping spoon after spoon into the coffee can next to the sink. Still she could smell nothing. She added the quartered root vegetables, the salt, and the dill. Nothing. Then she looked over and saw Adam’s face, and Charlie’s face, and the different ways they looked like Eddie and like her parents, and it was as if someone had broken down a door. She smelled the simmering chicken, parsnips, and onions and saw her mother’s sickly face, the hollowed eyes and the skin stretched tight across the bone. Estelle saw her father’s hand raising the spoon to her mother’s lips. And then Estelle felt weak all over as the floor rushed up to meet her.
Poor Estelle, you really make me see what she’s going through.
Thanks for reading and for your comment, Sarah…
Excellent slice-of-life literature, real Boomer Lit – just tweeted it!
Thank you, Claude! 😀
I love this and I relate. It’s so amazing how the smell of something cooking can bring back meories.
Thank you, Kathleen. And my own memories. Writing it let me experience the day my mother-in-law taught me how to make her chicken soup.
Beautiful description. I can almost smell the soup! I especially like “like a breeze through an open window when the wind changed.” Good writing.
Wonderful sensory details. Writers often ignore the sence of smell, but you’ve done so brilliantly.