I used to love my gray jumper dress. I usually wore it with a white or black shirt. I was eleven years old. My step-mother told me I needed some color. “What color?” I asked. “My skin is brown, so the gray and white and black look just fine on me.” “The gray looks so lifeless” she would say. “A touch of red or yellow would be really good on you.” “But I am a serious person” I would retort, “and those colors are loud and boisterous!” She would always reply, “Better to be loud and boisterous at eleven and get it out of your system. You are only a child. There’s plenty of time to be serious when you grow up.”
Some moments from my childhood escape me. If I think really, really hard, will they come back to me? Can I really remember the moment, or must I rely on old photos? Why can’t I remember more? Is the past so painful that I do not want to recall it, or is it so wonderful that it seems too good to be true?
I am listening. I hear a solitary voice. It calls to me and I join it, repeating, repeating. Now a third voice joins the two of ours. The voices are louder. Then a fourth and a fifth and before I know it, we are a chorus of voices calling for justice and love and decency. This could be a real movement, but somewhere, a lone voice must be raised and another needs to listen.
Copyright © 2013 Elsa M. J. Seifert
I have lived in Altadena for 35 years and always made my home near Pasadena. I truly love this place. I raised my three sons here and am not figuring to leave. Southern California has been home for me—working here and editing a newspaper here. Now I volunteer, working with homeless women and the hungry.
And, I write. I write as much as I can.