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. latest update: 18 july 2011 .

When she went to work she kept her happiness in her purse, just in case. It seemed foreign. She would sneak her hand into her purse to touch it from time to time while waiting to be assigned a new report to type. It was shiny and new, as fresh as when she'd last made regular use of it as a child.

Hope and excitement she kept in the glove compartment of her car. She'd get them out when it was time to head home. Until recently, hope had been gathering dust in the back of the linen closet. Now, her husband's rage resided there. His confusion had been around more since she'd taken his favorite feeling away while he slept off another night drinking with the boys.

Neither of them had seen their love lately. Hers, she thought, was in her underwear drawer. His was probably in the garage, lying under a layer of grease and dirt.

Her rage and her anger she had buried with the child she'd lost to his.

Her despair she couldn't let go. But she kept it locked away in an old keepsake box along with her grief. Like an old friend, she would visit them sometimes.

Her dreams she kept in a shirt pocket, close to her heart. Any farther away and she might forget to reach into her purse often enough. And then her confusion would set in. She had tried to bury it, had tried to lock it away, but it always came back if she was not careful. If she happened to think on her life too closely, spent a little too long remembering her son, so small and helpless and broken... If she forgot to reach into her purse, she would get to wondering why. Why was all of this necessary? Why was she typing reports while her son rotted in the ground and her husband drowned his grief in alcohol? And the confusion made it hard to get through the day.

Mostly, she just tried to remember to slip her hand into her purse as often as she could. Then her day was easier. And she could take out her hope and her excitement and drive home after work. And she would keep her purse close by when it came to bedtime. And she would fall asleep thankful for locks and wishing that memories could be drowned out like feelings could be.

regb 4-2-13