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By Brenda Bellinger

I suppose another title for this post could be “Echoes.” Some are gentle, quiet, reminiscent of the fading ring of a bell. Others are loud, persistent—drumbeats, almost—like the hourly news headlines of the brutal slaughters in Ukraine, occasionally punctuated by stories of defiance, strength and resilience.

It’s Monday morning, the day before I’ll upload this post. I’m sitting at the dining room table in the family home that will soon be listed for sale, waiting for the painter and landscaper to arrive.

Traffic noise is more noticeable now in the hollow silence of this near-empty space. All but a handful of the original furnishings are gone, replaced with artsy pieces and decor selected by our real estate agent to stage the home.

Gone is the Tuscan-inspired color scheme that ran throughout the house, a carryover from my folks’ trip to Europe in 1993. It’s hidden under two coats of marketable cream with an occasional accent wall in a trendy shade of light sage.

It’s odd, sitting here where I always sat during those evening card games with my father and his lady friend, a new modern light fixture above the table. Dad couldn’t stand silence and always had his television turned to the easy listening station on the music channel. “Elevator music,” my husband called it. Between hands, the music would be drowned out by the sound of the battery-operated card shuffler and the squeak of chairs on the hardwood floor as we got up to refill our coffee cups or pour a drink. Midway through the game we’d take a break for dessert.

And then there was the clock that had been in our family for years. It hung on the dining room wall and chimed on the hour and the half, a sound that never bothered me but apparently drove my younger brothers crazy. All three of them adamantly refused to take the clock (one even threatened to burn it – he was just kidding. I think.) so it came home with me. Like the soundtrack to a favorite movie, the chimes play on, marking time and recreating memories.

Originally posted as “Echoes” on Brenda’s Blog.

Brenda Bellinger’s work has appeared in Small Farmer’s Journal, Mom Egg Review, Persimmon Tree, THEMA, the California Writers Club Literary Review and in various anthologies. Her first novel, “Taking Root,” a young adult story of betrayal and courage, is available through most local bookstores and on Amazon.

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