Friday, January 14, 2011

In a different time...

“Tim,” Jenna called, “Tim. Over here.”

Tim looked up from examining the worn headstones, trying to see where his wife was.

“Over here,” Jenna said, waving.

“Okay,” he said, straightening up a little stiffly, “on my way.”

He joined his wife. She was sitting on the ground. He marveled how she still, so easily, could manage the lotus position.

“See,” she said, pointing. “Goldberg. The family plot is here." She pointed to a large, multi-headstoned plot.

“Anna's is here,” she continued.

“You're sure it's the right one,” he asked.

“Uh huh,” she said, “the dates are about right. They'd put her at nineteen when she knew Grandma Ruth.”

Tim eased himself to the ground beside Jenna.

“She died young,” he said, nodding at the headstone.

“She did,” Jenna said quietly. She turned to him. “Can you die of a broken heart,” she asked.

Tim remained quiet, his hand resting lightly on her shoulder.

“I didn't know anything about her till I found Ruth's journal,” Jenna said after a while. “She never told me. How come Allison knew so much?”

Tim smiled gently. “Well, she and Allison used to talk about a lot of things.”

Jenna looked at him. “Do you think Grandma knew about Allison?”

“She knew.”

“She did?” Jenna asked.

Tim nodded. “Allison told me your grandmother was very proud of us,” he inclined his head, “of you, for accepting who Allison was and whom she loved.” He was silent for a moment. “It seems her own mother was not so understanding.”

Jenna was quiet for a moment. Then, "it was a different time. And if she hadn't married..."

Tim nodded again, squeezing her shoulder. "I, for one, am happy she did."

Jenna placed her hand on his. "Me too."

Tim looked at the headstones. "It looks like Anna had her own difficulties. She's buried apart from the main family. She also married."

Jenna looked, tears springing to her eyes. "I wonder if Grandma Ruth knew Anna had a daughter."

She laid her head on her husband's shoulder and pointed.

"Look Tim, she named her Ruth."


  1. Please consider putting these Goldberg variations together in a book someday. Another lovely one here.

  2. I love the seeming quiet simplicity of this. Of course it really isn't all that simple. Clearly these two people are dealing with some very deep things. It takes a lot of craft to write quiet moments like this, that are in fact layered with all kinds of emotions and backstory. Well done, Kevin.

  3. Very emotional, though I'm not quite sure I understand it all. Lovely understated relationships. Great staff.

  4. @Laura - yes, my intention is (when I have 32 of them!) is to put them together in a book. A ways to go yet. Glad you enjoyed this one, and thank you.

    @Rachel - I am glad the undercurrents came through the simple interaction between husband and mother/granddaughter. I like quiet surfaces with much going on beneath. And sometimes I manage to write them. Thank you for your comment.

    @Virginia - Glad the emotions came through, sorry that the clarity didn't as well as I'd hoped. I may need to set this one -set- for a while. Thank you for commenting.

  5. Poignant, Kevin. Tender and nostalgic. Also very true how family members hide things from each other.


  6. Always lovely to visit these ladies. I'm with Laura-- book, book!

    You can feel the whole lineage lingering in the air around them. Wonderful.

  7. @Jai - thank you, a nostalgic and sad tone was what I was going for here. True what you say about what can happen in families.

    @Gracie - It will be interesting when they are all gathered in one place (there's a risk that it may be too much - but I have to try).

    @Julie - Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment.

  8. I'm with Rachel on this one. I love the understated emotion in this one. I did have to read it twice to get the names straight, but this is my first introduction to the Goldbergs. A lovely piece, Kevin.

  9. I'm with Laura and Gracie and that says a lot - as I "felt" the continuity of tales you must brushstroke on this family at my first (most enjoyable) foray into your site, oh KjM. I'll be scouting around for sure, but first, adding to the loveliness of the gentle*touch on your conveyings ~ you had me *feeling* from the simple grace of loving husband reflecting about loved wife:

    "He marveled how she still, so easily, could manage the lotus position."

    Softly I salute your empathies into your characters. Subject matter treated well from your titling. ~ Absolutely*Kate

  10. @Danielle - Glad you enjoyed it, and that it bore a second reading. The Goldberg Variations is an experiment I'm trying - variations on a theme (let's see if I have a theme by the time I finish!)

    Thank you for your comment.

    @Kate - Thank you for stopping by and commenting. The "What's it all about anyway?" off to the right can help with your scouting (for example the 10 Goldberg Variations).

    I'm glad you enjoyed the "feeling" of this piece and I am ridiculously pleased at your salute. Many, many thanks.

  11. Ridiculous? You?
    Oh my fine sir ~ I salute works that move the spirit. Yours? Does.

    I shall "scout". Which means, you'll be hearing the more - no doubt. ~ Absolutely*Kate

  12. Kevin, once again I get such joy from reading your works. They have a simplicity to them in the best sense of the word. You are a great teller of stories and your styles is a strong compliment to them. What hooked me this time was the mention of a headstone. Boom.

  13. It is a little like a far more readable Goldberg Variations, with legitimate haunting sentiment.

  14. This is lovely. It drew me in immediately, conveying in few words what I needed to know of the world. There wasn't a word out of place in my reading. You have a delightful style.

    Take care,