From the storage space under the basement stairs, I took out my mother’s wooden picnic basket. I opened the lid, with its grinning sun. I removed the plastic utensils and plates. I spread the checked napkins on the bottom. On them, I laid
- a ceramic chicken
- a plastic mouse in a vest
- a triceratops sticker
- a drawing of a snake-clad woman
I closed the lid and took the basket with me.
I kept the basket safe for years, never opening the lid until one day, you needed me to open it. I took out these precious talismans, hoping somehow they could help me help you. I released the pieces of my heart they held and tried to bandage your wounds.
Too strong. Not strong enough? Spoiled? For whatever reason, it doesn’t quite work. I don’t have something you need.