Where You Are Standing (A Late Night Sketch)

“Can you describe her to us? Anything at all could help us so much.”

“Hmmmm, Let me think…” She delicately brushed her hair out of her eyes and looked around the room for an answer. Her walls were decorated with an ensemble of picture frames; some holding pictures of places, others of moments captured. There was an old couch seating her guests next to a fireplace that was in desperate need of being cleaned out. A television showing Al Roker describe the weather in your neck of the wood was set on low volume. Next to her chair was a small, square mahogany table where her tea stood tall on a neat stack of personalized coasters embroidered with the family crest. Each of her possessions held memories, but none which she needed right now.

“Don’t worry, take your time, we’re in absolutely no rush. We’re grateful you were able to take the time out of your day to meet with us.” Andrew Chian said with a reassuring smile that was undermined by an incessant tapping of his pen upon his notepad. Warren nudged him to cease the tapping and looked towards her with his big brown eyes waiting for her to speak. Somewhere in their interaction, it occurred to her that you could know someone your entire life without ever truly knowing them.

As she reached for another sip of her tea, the words came spilling out of her. “There was an undeniable elegance and warmth to her. When she spoke, her voice was so rich, so full of experience, that it almost carried with it a promise to take you anywhere. Maybe I am not making sense here… ”

“She was funny. Funny in both a laugh-out-loud and quirky sort of way that made her her own. She never made you laugh at someone else’s expense, there was a morality that she never crossed. More importantly, though, she was defined. This was a woman who knew who she was and was unaffected by the opinions of others.”

Andrew vigorously transcribed her story from words to paper as he struggled to keep up with her. Tom Warren was about to interject when her voice came back in with no hesitation. “Yes, she had doubts about herself. Her children when viewed as a reflection of herself sometimes shocked her with their deviations. Qualities that seemed to have come from nowhere to her, but we all saw her husband’s influence on them, no matter how small a role he played in those poor children’s lives.”

“She was still somehow so full of life. Her face showed so many years before, but her eyes promised so many years ahead. Sure, she brought with her a baggage riddled with contradictions and hypocrisies, yet she never let these define her. Actions only speak louder than words if you stand closer to them. Even from afar I saw past these shortcomings. And now, looking back, I can only hope she did the same for myself.”

Andrew puts a period at the end of her sentence on his notepad and looks to Tom Warren. She feels perspiration on her palms; she felt she revealed more about herself than her old friend with her description. Warren, letting out a sigh, said in his grave voice, “That’s great and all and thank you for sharing this, but we are looking more for a visual description of her. Or perhaps where she likes to go in her spare time—“

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