The hardest button

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As I reach blindly under my bed for a missing sock, my hand brushes against cold metal.

Aha!

I grab the forgotten box, next to the runaway woolen sock, and pull it out from under the dusty recess.

It’s my grandmother’s button box. I’ve had it for more than a year. I found it buried under bags and boxes at my mother’s house. She’d had it for many years, back when we were emptying my grandparents’ house after they moved to assisted living.

This box has a history. Primarily, it was utilitarian: providing a place to store lost buttons as well as offering replacements for gaping garments. I recall it appearing on the table as a diversionary tactic, one of the many employed by my grandma. She had others: the felt board and shapes, the finger-sized puppets, the coloring books and crayons. But, oh, those buttons, they had so many possibilities. We’d sort them into shapes and colors, engineer roads and patterns, glue them to other things as craft projects. Once we made absolutely hideous bracelets using lengths of elastic. While others in the family inherited my late grandma’s rocking chair, her mantel clock, and her jewelry, I got the button box.

Yeah, I’m simple like that sometimes.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the buttons. It’s comforting to know they are with me. I look at them as a great puzzle. All the pieces are in front of me, I just don’t know yet what to do with them.

And speaking of the hardest button to button, I’ve worked hard to meet my 1,000 words a day writing challenge. No, I’m nowhere near the goal (if I’d done this every day since Jan. 1, it would be 41,000 words. I have a mere 24,531 words logged, but some of those are carried over from last year. So, yeah, a lot less than the goal, but the idea is to write as often as I can, especially when the story is kicking to get out.  Yesterday I wrote all 1,000 words in cursive, with a pencil, into a small notebook in my purse before transcribing it to the computer. The rule is, if I start writing, I need to keep going until I reach 1,000 words.

Let me clarify that almost none of what I have written is worthy of reading. It’s a jumbled mess, much like the box of buttons. I have a few chapters I’ve polished and revised. My central story idea keeps shifting, like a restless fetus. I’m just doing this thing anyway.  Even if nothing comes of it, I keep sifting though my thoughts, much like I bury my hands in that metal box of plastic buttons, feeling each individual’s weight and texture, savoring the soft click-clack as they slip through my fingers.

Here’s to getting outside the box once in a while.