Bev Vines-Haines
Hayward Fault Line Winner

Drusilla Penn-Guire needed nothing.  Not money, she’d inherited bushels of it.  And not a home, she had the seven bedroom monstrosity her father built in Bangor and her mother’s secret hideaway out close to Casco Bay.  She’d inherited both by the time she was forty.

And now she was fifty.  Face, sea-hardened she liked to think, with the chiseled features so common among Maine’s Pioneer Aristocracy.   She kept to herself, buying whatever she needed from the Internet and relying on UPS and the local grocery for all necessities.

Many hours of each day were spent curled up in an oversized armchair, while she waited on her umbilical cord to the world.  Lately it seemed the UPS man lingered.  In the old days she had instructed him to leave her packages stacked neatly near the front door.   But he’d mentioned a couple deliveries she’s never brought inside so she agreed to open the door when he rang.

Drusilla found television more exciting than the UPS driver or the kid who brought groceries.  She especially loved Hoarders.   Her father had been a hoarder. Once she’d moved out to attend college, he had quickly filled her room with maps.  Drusilla burned them all once he died.  Folded maps from all over the world, each encased in a vinyl folder with comments added in her father’s tight, rigid hand.  Wall maps, street maps, books filled with endless pages of maps. Of course she found the things in every room and closet of the house.   Odd, with all those charts, he never found the way to her heart.

Her mother’s hoard was different.  Every square inch of the coastal home had been infused with the scent of dried roses. It smelled very funereal when she entered it after her mother’s passing.  Piles and piles of dead roses in a muted rainbow of colors.  Where did they come from?  Certainly not her father.  He held both of his women in utter contempt.  Later she learned her mother was known to creep around hospital hallways, church altars and cemetery burial sites, gathering all the roses she could find.  It was such harmless lunacy no one ever called her on it.

Drusilla found it odd she’d been eclipsed her entire life by dead flowers and lifeless drawings.  She’d considered lighting one mega-fire with the maps and the roses as fuel.  But in the end she lit the pyres individually, her way of honoring her parent’s separate lives.

She needed nothing.  Wanted nothing.  Staring at another episode of Hoarders, she tapped her fingers and watched the clock.  What would life, pounding, pulsing heartfelt life be like?  What, she wondered, can Brown do for me?

First published: February, 2013
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