Voices on the Wind Memorable Voices
First Memories by Leslie Clark Is it possible that I remember, as an infant, lying in my carriage staring at the cracked arch of the living room doorway? I heard a spuriously sweet voice cooing over my cuteness, smothering gardenia perfume and menthol smoke odor caught in a bouffant hairdo, some black-framed eyes seeming to bore through my delicate flesh. Then, jolting forward movement after the piling on of several blankets, heavy on my delicate limbs. The creaking of the front door, sudden blast of cold outside air, jarring bumps down front porch steps, then wheels whispering over pavement, an occasional jolt over a root-raised cement square. Somewhere behind my bonneted head, two female voices droned—the one I loved most—she of food and cuddles, and the other, linked to nastiness and gardenias. The conversation played a tune like my crib-buddy, up and down, loud and soft, very excited just before the good-byes and the drifting off of the one that felt so wrong. Mom and I wheeled on in peaceful silence. As we turned around, my mother’s face appeared, hovering over me as she tucked covers in more firmly Don’t mind her, she told me. She means well, but she has no business around babies. In spite of blankets, I shivered. Could I have perceived that strange woman meant future danger? My wariness of gardenias and menthol cigarettes lingered, a very early warning of life’s precariousness.