Purse by Michelle McEwen

I have this purse— keep it in my hall closet. It’s gray with one strap and a zipper. Got it one Wednesday at the Salvation Army for a dollar; Wednesdays, everything marked with a blue ticket is half off. I don’t carry it anywhere, but not ‘cause it’s an ugly purse. I didn’t buy it for carryin’ nohow. I bought it to hide the money I’m saving just in case my man, Jewel, decides to take all of what’s in the bank and run off with another woman like he did to the woman before me. I’m the woman he ran off with when he left her. We got our lives started with some other woman’s money. I’m no fool— there’s always another woman. That’s why I’m saving. I know one of these mornings, Jewel’s gonna get to where he can’t hardly stand me— can’t stand my cornrows, my underarm scent, my twisted bra straps. That’s when he’s gonna get it in his head to stroll down to my bank and take all my money. He can gon’ on and do it, too, because I keep more money in that purse than I keep in the bank. Most of my work money gets put in the purse; what’s left goes in the bank. It’s not easy to find either, my purse. I got a bunch of heavy coats in that closet and a suitcase. Behind that suitcase is my purse and don’t nobody know it but me and you.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Purse by Michelle McEwen

  1. I love how you’ve presented this woman; no fool, she.

  2. I like how you play with the reader in this one. The reader is told confidentially, drawn to her secret… Nicely done!

  3. Thanks for the comments, y’all! :-)

  4. shaneshane

    Love this!

  5. Michael

    I said it in last week’s comment and I’m going to say it again: I LOVE your strong women narrators! This is the new feminism, right here. Real women faced with real-life situations that have their own plans if things don’t work out. They don’t cry about their fate; they don’t play the martyr and most definitely not the victim. And they definitely aren’t an angel on some man’s pedestal. (Melissa’s women narrators are the same so I hope you read this, too, Melissa.) I admire you both for this aspect of your stories. A great story, as always. Simply excellent storytelling. Lastly, I like how this read like a a good long race. It started with a good pace and rhythm and as the race progressed, the pace picked up. And then I was racing to the finish line. Yep, if you couldn’t tell. Loved this.

  6. Michael, thanks for your comment. I <3 it. "! This is the new feminism, right here. Real women faced with real-life situations that have their own plans if things don’t work out." Wow! I really appreciate that!

  7. And I’ll pass it along to Melissa.

  8. Kim Hutchinson

    Love the voice in this, a woman who faces her reality open-eyed and square-jawed. Nicely done.

  9. i agree with michael. the voice is so strong you that she makes you believe it’s real. loved the last line.

  10. “Open-eyed and square-jawed.” Oooh, that sounds like it could be used in an upcoming story. :-)

  11. What everyone else said. Love how you drew me, the reader, into her world, hush-hush, don’t tell. Peace…

  12. Kelly

    a pleasure to read, once again! I hope you are working on some longer pieces too, these focused glimpses of your characters (and your skill) make me want to read more

  13. This voice is amazing here! So powerfully drawn, and made me want this one to go on longer and longer!

  14. guy

    I think i said something like this last week or the week before, but there’s a vulnerability to these characters. If she’s telling us, just how safe is her secret? I worry that the purse will be gone.

  15. Ha, Guy. That’s true…

  16. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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