Pandora’s Box

DREAMS AND MELANCHOLY

Those of you who have been following my postings know that Facebook and I have been together only a short time. I resisted Facebook because I was worried it would sap my time (it has), keep me focused on the trivial (ditto), and turn me from reality to virtual reality. Lighten up, I’ve been told quite sternly! But with so little time on this earth, why would I want to use it up staring at my laptop or my smart phone?

In this excerpt from PERSEPHONE IN HELL, set in 1968, Ancient Glory narrates the story from 40 years in the future. She’s understanding. She gets that there are exciting and sometimes compelling distractions all around. Paying attention to the important things, to what’s in your heart and mind, the content of your character, the quality of your soul, can be tough with so much competition.

“Maybe that was why a year or more had passed, and no one had noticed Gloria’s scars. No one had seen the ugly lines on her thighs or the jagged breaks against her breasts.

Not one of them had looked, really looked at Gloria. Not even Penny, who shared a bedroom and might have seen at least one of her sister’s fifteen cries for help. Not Sammy, who ignored Glory as much as possible, hoping to tune out the crass remarks he heard around the locker room. Not Dad, always annoyed and uncomfortable around his pretty daughter. And least of all Ma, the mother who might have paid attention but didn’t.

Honestly, there were so many things to think about, so much to occupy one’s mind. There was the mortgage…food for eight…sneakers and coats and shoes and pants for ever growing children…college loans and Vietnam and protests in the streets…heart surgery and a sister-in-law’s last days…taxes, paychecks, money, electricity. One couldn’t see it all.

A daughter’s cutting pain could go unnoticed with other children to tend. A sister’s torn miseries might easily remain unseen when you weren’t even talking to her. An almost grown child’s razor blade lament could be overlooked or forgotten when, after all, it was old news. And how could you pay attention to the ordinariness of life when history was in the making?”

Pandora’s box, Facebook is. Open it. All the fun and troubles and temptations in the world come flying out at you, cluttering space, leaving you staring into an empty abyss and wondering where it ends, where will it end.

 

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