Writing Prompt Wednesday 08/07/13

So I have friends who have blogs, and they’re far more regular writers than I. I’d like to change that. I missed Saturday again, I know, but I’m still not quite used to the idea that anyone besides me is interested in anything I write. It’s weird, y’know? There’s a history with that, and maybe one day I’ll go into it, but it won’t be a fun post.

Prompt 196 – Write from the point-of-view of a freshly-scrubbed floor

2009-12-19 Art Museum 009
Cincinnati Art Museum

A bit damp right now. I felt the layer of grime come off. It was rough, and I swear I lost a little bit of color, but it’s good to be clean. I wonder, though; where will I go now? No one would bother to clean me if they weren’t going to use me. I wasn’t always in this building, you know. Once, I graced the halls of an art museum, visited only by the best…and school children, dragging their dress shoes and rubber-soled gym shoes across my surface, scuffing me, scratching me, staining me. I tried to ignore those. Those moments were dark spots in an otherwise bright life. Sometimes I felt the rumble of hand trucks as they moved around sculptures and paintings, making new exhibits, refreshing old ones, and even loaning out pieces to others. I saw Van Gogh and Monet, Kandinsky and Nick Cave.  There were sculptures that decorated the homes of pharaohs and gods, and I saw them all. Then they remodeled. I was surprised when I was pried up from my secure spot, but I felt the chips in some of the outer tiles; I suppose I understand now, ‘though it was very difficult then.

The Future

But my life wasn’t over, oh no. I rested in a dark, dusty room in several pieces for a little while, but it wasn’t too long before the sliver of light let someone in, someone with another hand truck, who lifted me in small piles and carried me into the sun. I had a new life to get to, a new role in the world. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was going to be a part of some of the happiest days of people’s lives. There was a hall that was being built. They wanted a floor just like me, but the new ones were too expensive. They had heard about me gathering dust in a storage closet, and they asked if they could have me. I’m sure there was a little money exchanged – even art museums have bills to pay – but I was saved, rescued from obscurity and brought into the world. There were a few paintings and ornate planters here and there, but the art was simple and unimaginative. It wasn’t important. Not when I had my first wedding. I felt silk and tulle brush gracefully across the surface, I heard a soft sigh, and a soft reply. At one point, I thought it was raining, but I realized they were tears of joy; everyone was happy. It was good that it was my first experience. My next was a memorial. There were tears then, too. I saw many lives begin and a few too many after they had ended, although sometimes, those were times of celebration, when the people would remember the good, the joy, the love they were lucky enough to have in their lives.

Late afternoon diner conversation

I had chipped a little more around the edges, though, after all that time. I was fewer at that point when I was pried up again, and went into pieces – not as many as left the art museum – and placed in the dark. It was different this time, though. The dark I was in moved almost immediately. I wasn’t so strong as I once was, but my time hadn’t come just yet. There was another place to go.

I stayed in pieces, used for accents while surrounded by linoleum. Nothing against it, the linoleum around me was quite nice, and it told me so many things I didn’t know, but it was just linoleum. No more art, no more more joy, no more release. Now I would be coated in grease on a regular basis, trod on by muddy work boots and wet flip flops, shoes that never would have dared tread on me at the museum. I can’t tell you how many times I had eggs or salt, syrup and soft drinks spilled all over me. I was scrubbed often, I can’t fault them for that, but I wasn’t polished anymore. I could feel bits and pieces of me crumble into dust, crushed under chairs one too many times. There were moments of joy, sure, but mostly it was just dirty, hard work.

Morning Glow
Garden of the Gods on the western side of the gateway rocks

The linoleum told me of a cousin it had, one it had run into at the place it was stored before going to that restaurant (Restaurant, HA! Greasy spoon, more like). The cousin had spoken of other places with food, but with far less traffic, and less grease. There were places the cousin was right up against carpeting! I couldn’t believe it; I was listening to linoleum talk about other linoleum touching carpet, and I was jealous. Not because of being up against some scratchy colored fibers, but because that linoleum wasn’t abused like I was. They were dark days indeed. I imagined instead what it might be like to be in another place of learning, maybe this time in a park, somewhere out west. I’d heard the west was beautiful. I didn’t realize I was already in it. I overheard a restaurant customer talking about it, about the weather and the mountains, the sun and rain, the hiking trails…it sounded heavenly. If I was to be ground into dust, I wanted to at least be among my brethren, the schist and gneiss, quartz and sandstone. I would even have been happy to be around limestone if it meant I didn’t have to endure one more drop of bacon grease.

2012-12-24 Christmas Eve 021a
It looks like a lot of food, but there are a lot of people to feed.

It was not to be. Eventually what was left of me was pried up yet again, only this time, there was no sense of loss; only relief. I couldn’t imagine a worse fate than that which I had endured. Most of me was chipped then; I was no longer desirable. Once again, I found myself in pieces, in a pile, in the dark. This dark lasted for quite some time. It was rare I saw more than a hint of light from around the door. I tried to strike up a conversation with the oak planks down the way, but they were silent. I’m not sure they were even alive anymore.  So I waited. I sat in the dark, alone with my thoughts, alone with the deceased oak planks, the buckets with crispy mop heads, cans of dried paint. surrounded by the smells of abandonment. I thought I’d had it bad before. Now I would give anything to have a grilled cheese sandwich ground into me with a pointy-toed shoe.

I don’t know how long I was there. Once the door opened and another group of tiles were placed in there, just a couple shelves away. They told me of a future in a house, a future that involved being higher up than the floor. No risk of touching nylon fibers smelling of stale milk. I could be a counter! There was a down side – in order to be a counter, I had to be ground up. Even though I didn’t really have any say in the matter, I thought about it. It would probably be my last position, but it could be a good one. I noticed, when I was in that restaurant, that there were people who were happy to be there. Those times it wasn’t so bad. I remembered in the hall, with the parties and receptions, the people coming together over a meal, sharing grief or happiness, if only for a moment. Being a countertop, well, that wouldn’t be so bad. I could be closer to all the action. I knew I was falling apart, that I had shrunken from several hundred square feet to a couple hundred square inches. Still I dreamed. I didn’t want to go out in this closet, in this dark.

Today, the door opened, and they came for me. I’ve been laid out and patched up, and polished to a shine for the first time in forever. Finally out of the dark, I get one more chance.


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