Penelope’s last house was a haze of dust. It filmed the corners. Draped the tops of clothes. Seeped into cloth upholstery.

Dust thou art.

Penelope wasn’t dust. Not yet. She couldn’t see much. Heard nothing. She always said she wanted to die when her mind stopped. Sitting in front of the window in a bland nursing home and feeling the sun on her face wasn’t any kind of life. Especially since she couldn’t remember what was sun or warmth in the first place. She watched the blurry box, combed its edges for clues in a window lit like an oyster shell.

Who had she been when she found that shell? He gave it to her, didn’t he? It was too fine a thing to be dug out of the mud on the beach, though she could smell salt and sulfur when she thought about it. Maybe that was the smell of his cologne.

She was always confused. Suspended there. Waiting to die.

Blind eyes blinked behind orbs of glass. Snatches played in the light of a broken movie reel, her life in her mind’s eye.

Why did she hang on to moldy things? A shock of tulle. A glass box, engraved on top. A bleached oyster shell. Scraps that added up to a life lived. Living done.

To dust thou shalt return.

Not yet.

Penelope whispered it into the void.

Not yet.

To read more about Penelope, go here and work your way forward.

Have you ever found a memento and wondered about its story?

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