Semantic notions about life: an exploration of words and signs, and the stories they are trying to tell.

wait·ing

wait·ing

N. Williams Ave. & NE Beech St., Portland, OR, USA

N. Williams Ave. & NE Beech St., Portland, OR, USA

wait·ing /wādiNG/

Noun. The action of staying where one is until a particular time, or until something else happens.

If my Grandma Grace has a ghost, she has returned to apartment #509 on Granada Street in Florida, a block east from Venice beach, whose shores are littered with blackened shark teeth among the crumbled shells. She sits in her light blue satin, wingback armchair, draped in peach silk, chandelier screw-back earrings on lobes that have never been pierced, and clunky matching beads that seem to test the weight of her neck, and what she can endure.

It is lunchtime — you can tell this from the smell of her signature Reuben sandwiches warming in the oven, and by her martini, held in a short, glass tumbler, engraved with the initials of her dead husband, the ice already half-melted. And always, her shocking white thick hair, washed and styled once a week, will be pinned up. I have heard rumors that it reaches her shoulders, but her ghost will keep this a secret as well.

Her favorite, turquoise-enameled ashtray stays close by her side, a label affixed underneath long ago bequeathing it to me. A beloved souvenir from one of her several widowed excursions to China, where the locals would pull her through the streets in rickshaws like royalty, trying to make sense of this stately woman traveling solo, at her age, to such a place. A woman who wouldn't have it any other way. A woman with hands that are also my own, and in her fingertips, forever holding a Pall Mall, it’s long, deliberate ash hovering, and waiting to be let go.

dan·ger

dan·ger

time

time