Ryan Everett Felton
“We are symbols, and inhabit symbols.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mother was an eccentric, yes, but for the first time in my adult life I can say without a doubt that she was perfectly sane.
The day we laid her to rest (that’s such a funny thing to say, isn’t it? “Laid to rest.”) I would have still told you she’d lived and died a madwoman. And you’d have agreed, if you’d seen her in that casket, brittle fingers clasping perfumed stationery to her powdered chest – and that bizarre symbol of hers scrawled in splotchy Indian ink on the page. It was to be buried with her, at her dying request.
Everyone else either ignored it or didn’t notice it there. I couldn’t look away, perhaps glad of another focal point besides her face. It was the same strange character I’d seen countless times. Her letter, she called it, and when I squinted and shunted disbelief I could imagine it some lost relic of a bygone alphabet. Continue reading