Thursday, August 10, 2006

Change and decay 5

I started to work along the shelves, applying numbered Post-It notes to the piles of papers, when I heard the door open behind me.
‘Ah- you must be the archivist.’
I turned round to see a girl in her twenties, gracefully leaning on the doorpost, a quizzical smile on her face.
‘That’s right,’ I replied, ‘Pleased to meet you.’
‘I’m Helen – didn’t Ma and Pa say? Have you started yet?’
‘Just now, actually – it’ll take a while.’
‘Found any treasures?’ Helen asked, with a glint in her eye.
‘Well, they are all important, in their way.’
‘Even the rubbish?’ Helen laughed, ‘Are you sure?’
I laughed too. ‘We prefer the term “ephemera”, but yes, for now.’
She walked into the room, trailing her hand along the shelf. She walked with a flat-footed gait; I noticed she was wearing frayed ballet pumps. She stared at me for a second.
‘I was expecting someone older, when they said you were coming.’
‘Archivists come in all shapes and sizes, I suppose.’
She shrugged. ‘I hope you don’t find any family secrets.’
She turned to leave with an offhand ‘See you’.
I watched her go, and then went back to work.

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