Gretchen Rubin

Do You Have a Memory That Stays with You? An Unimportant Moment You’ve Never Forgotten?

Do You Have a Memory That Stays with You? An Unimportant Moment You’ve Never Forgotten?

Sometimes, very often, a moment all intact comes before my thoughts. It is an early evening in winter. The lamps are not yet lighted. My mother and two other women, finished with their tea, are sitting in the dusk beside the littered tea tray. I watch, and listen to them talk. Lights travel the river, travel the street; sometimes they brush more and softer lights across the ceiling. One of the women wears a sweeping hat. I see her as I saw her then: aquiline profile, dark eyebrow, earring made of pearls. Her hair is gray but she is young. Nobody can tell me her name, but how many hundred times, I wonder, for what reason I can never guess, have my thoughts returned that face to me, and with it the sight of the dim room, the lights brushing the ceiling, and the sound of women’s voices talking quietly because of the dusk. A moment lives again, and will again, and will forever, or at least as long as I do.

--Elizabeth Enright, “The Walnut Shell, ” in Double fields: Memories and Stories

Do you have odd moments like this, that stick out in your memory for some reason, when other, far more important moments are forgotten?

I have several.

Side note: I'm so happy, because I love the children's books written by Elizabeth Eright, but I only just discovered that she's written a few books for adults, too. Enright was one of the very first names I added to my list of my 81 favorite works of children's and young-adult literature. It took me a long time to decide which of her books was my very favorite.

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