A couple of weeks ago, Kelly Spitzer interviewed Gayle Brandeis, author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write, Dictionary Poems, and The Book of Dead Birds. If you haven't already read it, go now - it's a great interview that will inspire and encourage all writers. As part of the interview, Kelly and Gayle offered readers a chance to win a signed copy of Gayle's latest novel Self Storage by leaving their own story about self storage in the comments. I'm pleased and very surprised (there were some amazing entries) to say that I was the winner! You can read my story "For Safekeeping" below. Thanks to both Kelly and Gayle!
The thumbs were the first to go. Her mother’s largest thimble served as casket for both and at the age of five Salida put away her babyhood. Later, she would also sacrifice her lush eyebrows and that beautiful nose of flesh and gristle to the whispers of her classmates. They went in the dustbin after school. When her father burned the trash on Sunday, Salida watched her brows rise on the smoke, tumbling together like castanets thrown into the sky.
The priest claimed her breasts with his awkward insistence on purity. As she packed them in salt and brown paper, Salida wondered how the Virgin had ever suckled an infant. The mole under her lower lip, her long black hair that reflected light like a spider’s eyes. Even the secret dimple on her back where Pedro used to place his thumb. One by one, Salida surrendered pieces of herself. She swept them onto the porch, watching them fly into the night like dust returning to the stars. She filled glass jars and small spaces under the floor boards. She wrapped them in scarves behind the socks.
Salida’s granddaughter found the first fragment. It was a strip of slender wrist wrapped in silver wire. Salida flashed it like a dancer flaunting her grace. She had thought such things were lost. She had forgotten herself. Soon more pieces were uncovered: an earlobe, pierced and hung with a dangling loop. Hands and calves. A smiling mouth. Thumbs. Salida had found herself.