Items on an Old Writing Desk
Marjorie's writing desk takes up a corner of the small second-floor room she called her den. Sunlight streams through a window to reveal a neat writing surface. On it rest a tablet, a pen and a small dictionary. Above, pigeon-hole compartments contain envelopes and stamps, a roll of address labels, a container of rubber bands, another of paper clips.
Here Marjorie wrote out her letters to friends and family and correspondences with various business acquaintances.
I let my hand lightly touch the writing surface. It holds a thin film of dust. I make a mental note to bring furniture polish the next time I visit. I know she would want me to keep her desk neat and clean.
Had Marjorie merely mistepped or had something she could not see tripped her?
I turn from the desk and leave the room. On the landing at the top of the stairs, I see the cat, Leonard. He watches me with keen regard. I had never cared for Leonard, nor he me. I never understood why Marjorie kept the cat around.
As I edge past him to go down the steps, I remember the day Marjorie died. She had tumbled down these very steps to her death. Had she merely mistepped or had something she could not see tripped her? On this suspicious thought, I glance back at Leonard in time to observe him enter Marjorie's den. On impulse, I retrace my steps to follow.
I see Leonard had leapt up onto the writing desk. His paws had made stark prints in the dust. I make a threatening approach and Leonard jumps from the desk, then leisurely exits the room with obvious disdain. I step over to Marjorie's writing desk and again look down at the items on the writing surface: tablet, pen, dictionary. I cannot see that the cat has disturbed any of them.
I pick up the dictionary and hold it in my hand a moment, then put it down. It would do me no good. Having perfect eyesight I never had occasion to learn Braille.