Laughter at 7:20

image1 (14)“What does mnemonic mean?”

I hadn’t understood it when he first said it. The mumble came from partly under covers. And I was immersed in a short story of Jane Gardam’s. I’d just started to laugh as I realized “The Sidmouth Letters” is a delightful tease, a very complex story and very funny.

“Mnemonic is a noun. It’s a pattern you remember to help you remember something else.”

“Oh. Well, that’s not what I want.”

My laughter turned into one of those happy fits of laughing when you don’t stop for a while and in the end don’t really know what struck you so funny, and it doesn’t really matter.

Maybe the moon had contributed.

When I’d gone to turn up the heat at 6:50, just before dawn, there was the moon right where it had been yesterday at 5:30, up there over the trees through the high window over the front door from where I stood by the thermostat.

In the story, the narrator, Annie, had just had a most ridiculous conversation with her great Auntie about the packet of letters Jane Austen had written to “the shadowy lover,” letters guarded for three generations and never read, and now finally, suddenly, given to Annie, literally tossed into her lap.

Perhaps I feel delight at being able to think of all the people who can find the story and read it, and laugh, too. All the people I love who can be looking at that same moon.

How this moment, wondering what word it was that Tom “wanted,” will never happen again, and will go on forever.

(Hansville, WA)

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