The Salt Hollows

Published by Norman Crane at Smashwords

Copyright 2012 Norman Crane

During funerals I often imagine I am a salt shaker. The salt shaker is empty and someone is shaking it, but, because it is empty, no salt falls out. There’s a meal under the shaker: fried liver with onions. Because no salt falls out, because the shaker is empty, the meal tastes plain. The person eating is disappointed. He curses his luck and blames others. Sometimes he gets angry. Sometimes the angry man is me. It’s an impossibility that my therapist says is significant; but I pay my therapist. If I stopped paying, she’d stop saying I am significant. I know it’s an impossibility to be a salt shaker in the first place.

I sleep well after funerals. The sleep is deep. Someone finally shakes me awake, but at least once I’ve been thought dead. It made my mother cry. When I came downstairs for breakfast she didn’t recognize me. I’m glad my mother is alive. She’s the last of us, but she’s in her eighties and will die soon, too. At her funeral I will imagine I am a salt shaker and afterward I will sleep long and well.

In my physical life I don’t like salt. It is unhealthy and its taste overpowers. In your eyes it stings. When I was a girl, salt was expensive even though we lived near a salt mine. The mine was famous and tourists came on buses. The buses were black and yellow like the mine workers. The tourists gave us candy. I much prefer sugar to salt. Sweetness complements though it, too, is unhealthy. Salt comes from the underground, which is close to Hell. Sugar can be the product of bees, which are animals like humans, who are sinful but can ascend to Heaven. When I was a girl I liked to lie on the grass and trace the paths of bees with my finger. If one landed on my stomach I let it walk and tickle me all over.

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