#amwriting – #fridayfiction
They say with age comes wisdom, but I’m not so certain that’s true. By now I should have learned to temper my expectations, but I haven’t.
I am in my ninety-first year of life, which is somewhat of a miracle. Women in the Browne family do not live long lives; it’s a proven fact. For as far back as anyone remembers, there has been only one cousin who made it to ninety-one, but she’s three-times removed and hardly worth a mention.
The truth is I expected to be long gone by now, but here I am. Alive and well. I’ve tried to adjust my expectations and take each day as it comes, but this is not an easy thing to do. Expectations are a way of life. Sadly enough, they are also what causes more heartache than anything else. I spent most of my ninetieth year, waiting to die. Now I’m wishing I had that year back. Instead of worrying about dying, I’d be celebrating the fact that I’m still living.
The problem with expectations is that if you imagine something will be one way and it turns out differently, you’re disappointed. It doesn’t matter if the way it turns out is better or not, the simple fact is it’s not what you expected.
When I left Memory House, I expected to leave other people’s memories behind. I figured in giving Annie the house all the magic would go with it, but I was wrong. Annie has her own kind of magic. It’s different than mine, but in the years to come it will serve her well.
As for me, I still pick up the memories of other people. In the watch Sam carries, I can picture the face of his daddy and the roughness of his callused hands. If I touch my fingers to the Rockettes picture hanging on Lillian’s living room wall, my heart starts to race. I feel the anger she felt when she was moved to the end of the line. I see the pout of her mouth and hear her grumble, “This isn’t fair!”
But those are simple memories. Clear-cut. Over and done with. The saddest memories are those that won’t let go; the kind Annie’s friend Maxine carries around day and night. They’re like a cloak tied tight around her shoulders. Even when she’s deep in conversation or laughing out loud, I can see those memories poking a heartless finger into her brain. After all these many years, I’ve seen enough of other people’s memories to know happy from sad. Max thinks those memories are happy, but they’re not. Handsome men with flashy smiles blind a girl to the truth and that’s what has happened to her.
If she doesn’t find a way to rid herself of those memories, she’s in for a sorry life; and it’s all because of her expectations.