My mother's handbag

My mother's handbag was a small, brown thing.  But she loved it.  It was always slung over her shoulder, her left I think,  I began below it and as I grew, my fingers were able to reach it, then my hair brushed it, eventually my shoulders passed by the once plush pouch with its huge tarnished, silver hoops which acted as the clasp.  I was allowed to carry it too then, you see.  The bag contained the mysteries of womanhood; articles that were of interest to me like spare change for sweets and lipstick to transform along with boring and less fascinating objects like tissues and tampons.  The tan colour would have once been a deeper chocolate brown I think but time and use had weathered it.  The bag smelled of mum on the outside and leather on the inside and when i opened it, the hoops clinked together.  I sat on the kitchen floor and spent some time trying to slip the rings through one another.  They never passed each other in this way.  I sat, feeling the knot in the long leather strap which was rubbed shiny and could never be teased out.  The shallow loop that it created at the top of the strap, with the double row of frayed stitches, was pleasant to hold in my small hand.  It fitted me. I looked for the bag once, at the bottom of her wardrobe after she was gone.  I never found it.


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