To earn my weekly fifty cents allowance, every Thursday afternoon when I got off the school bus, I had chores to do. It was my job to clean the mirrors, wipe down any surfaces in reach, dust and vacuum. To clean the mirrors, I used the off-brand Windex that my mother purchased, and wiped them down with newspapers, because, as my mother explained, that’s how you achieved that no-streak shine. I don’t know how she knew. I never saw my grandma do it. There certainly wasn’t Google. And it wasn’t offered information in the Encyclopedia Britannica. But I never questioned her. When it came to creating a proper reflection, I knew my mother was the champion. So each Thursday afternoon, I took the pages from the last week of the Alexandria Echo, and gave us both a fresh start.
Maybe it’s too simple to say, but it seems I learned very early on that it was how you looked at things. Giving yourself the opportunity to see it all, even yourself, in the best of situations. It never occured to me that we didn’t have much. I was proud of our home. I was proud of my Thursday work. When my mom arrived around 5pm, I stood, blackened hands by my side, heart filled with breath and anticipation. She walked me into the bathroom light. Put her arm around my shoulder, and we smiled at each other in the streakless reflection. We were together. Shining. I had everything. The world was possible, well beyond last week’s news.