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Souvenir: A Novelby Therese Fowler
Synopses & Reviews
Reminders. Meg didn't need more of them, but that’s what she got when her father let her into his new apartment at the Horizon Center for Seniors Wednesday evening. He held out a plastic grocery bag.
What's in there?
“Notebooks, from your mother’s desk,” he said. “Take 'em now, before I forget.
He did more and more of that lately, forgetting. Idiopathic short-term memory loss was his doctor’s name for his condition, which right now was more an irritation than an issue. Idiopathic, meaning there was no particular explanation. Idiopathic was an apt term for Spencer Powell, a man who lived entirely according to his whims.
Meg took the bag and set it on the dining table along with her purse. This would be a short visit, coming at the end of her twelve-hour day. Hospital rounds at seven am, two morning deliveries, a candy-bar lunch, and then four hours of back-to-back patients at her practice-women stressing about episiotomies, C-section pain, stretch marks, unending fetal hiccups, heavy periods, lack of sex drive, fear of labor. And still four hours to go before she was likely to hit the sheets for five. An exhausting grind at times, but she loved her work. The ideal of it, at least.
So how was today? she asked, taking the clip out of her shoulder-length hair and shaking it loose. Are you finding your way around all right?
“Colorful place,” he said, leading her to the living room. He sat in his recliner-why did old men seem always to have one, fraying and squeaky, with which they wouldn't part? Pair o’ guys over in wing C got a great system for winning on the dogs.
The greyhounds, he meant. Is that right?” she asked, looking him over. He looked spry as ever, and his eyes had regained the smile she'd never seen dimmed before last fall. His hair, once the brightest copper, had gone full silver, making him seem more distinguished somehow, silver being more valuable. Distinguished, but no less wild than before-a man whose mind was always a step ahead of his sense. His diabetes was in check, but since her mother had died suddenly seven months earlier, Meg felt compelled to watch him closely. She was looking for signs of failing health, diabetic danger signals: swollen ankles, extra fluid in the face, unusual behaviors. All his behaviors were unusual, though, so that part was difficult.
The other difficult thing was how he kept confronting her with random pieces of her mother's life. A pitted chrome teapot. Stiff and faded blue doilies from their old dining hutch. Rose-scented bath powder, in a round cardboard container with a round puff inside. Last week, a paper bag of pinecones dipped in glitter-thick wax. Trivia from a life forever altered by the sudden seizure of Anna Powell's heart, like a car’s engine after driving too long without oil.
Yeah, those boys said they win more'n they lose, so what’s not to like about that? Hey-my left kidney’s acting up again. Steady pain, kinda dull, mostly. What d'ya s’pose that’s about?
Call Dr. Aimes,” she said, as she always did when he brought up anything relating to his kidneys. Tomorrow. Don't wait. He looked all right-but then, she’d thought her mother had too. What a good doctor she was; she should’ve seen the signs of runaway
Seventeen years after entering into a marriage agreement on her family's behalf, Meg Powell is reunited with her first love, Carson McCay, now a successful musician, a situation that complicates her attempts to repair her strained relationship with her rebellious daughter, Savannah. A first novel. 100,000 first printing.
Therese Fowler holds an MFA in creative writing. She grew up in Illinois, and now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two sons. This is her first novel.
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