Short Fiction: Two Wrinkles

Posted: May 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Two Wrinkles

Every day is a special day for Leila. She is at a turning point in her life and feels like she’s having a mid-life crisis. She irons a faded chambray shirt and presses hard to eliminate two wrinkles that won’t budge. She’s at the ironing board in the kitchen and steam floats to the ceiling. She loves the shirt, plucked from a box, intended for the Salvation Army.

The entire back is covered with embroidered stems and flowers sewn by a dreamy kid from the ‘70s. The colors are brighter than graffiti images from a can of paint splashed on a back alley wall. The shirt speaks through threads and colors of greens, oranges, yellows, pinks, reds, and blues flanked by those two wrinkles.

She laughs. “Wrinkled shirt, you got nothing on me. I got two that needs pressing out, lucky shirt!”

Colors embed cloth to reflect images of another time. She inhales the steam and closes her eyes. She lives in the past and remembers happier days. It is salvation, another time, and another age when she is the only clear headed kid in the group. Others sleep on the floor, if you want to call it that. Someone has to be clear-headed to drive home––that’s Leila. It’s a glorious generation to be stoned on life with voices of a different era. A good time to be stoned on life, lost in a fabric of voices that echo and chant: “far out man, groovy man,” and “make love not war.” It just is.

Leila flips a CD in the DVD player and tosses her waist length, ribbon-wrapped hair braids back. She sees herself in the same faded shirt at Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue Concert.” He’s young, cute, and curly headed with a unique voice that she will remember forever. He walks onto the stage like God. She nudges her friend and screams content from the sixth seat-third row, eye level with the stage.“I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.” He sings affront the band. He’s perfection to her, and Joan Baez joins him on stage to sing “Railroad Boy.” The buzzer of the dryer goes off. Leila opens her eyes, and stares at the shirt on the ironing board. The wrinkles are gone and the music stops.

She unplugs the iron, shakes out the shirt, and tries it on. The shirt is a perfect fit, thanks to a strenuous routine of running two miles a day around a two-mile track that takes her nowhere. It feels pointless, but keeps the love handles away that would otherwise prevent her from dressing like she’s always done: eclectic hippie with class. Ragged jeans, soft t-shirt, expensive wool blazer––that’s her style. She adores hats: fedoras and baseball caps for each season, paired with the right sunshades. Leila’s persona abetted.

Ironic, she thinks and slaps her cheek at regression. She is the same person inside, young with no interior wrinkles that she’s aware of. Superficial. She touches the threads of the shirt and loves the soft feel of it. “Where are the parties, the stoners, and the best musicians, who ever set foot on a stage or sang in the rain at Woodstock?” She questions silence, for she is a solitary soul, not of her own choosing. Her friends are gone, and she’s alone with memories, the kind she won’t let go, cannot let go, does not want to let go. She folds up the ironing board, looks in the hall mirror, and smiles. “Happy Birthday, shirt, you’re wrinkles are gone.” She flips in another CD. “The Times They Are a Changing.”

Copyright © 2014 by wynsharp

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