• Amanda Ashley

An Odd Little Object


This odd little object, is a Maybelline eye/lip pencil sharpener.

I bought it over 30 years ago and It's been everywhere that I've been, because; black eye liner and my vanity. This dull, goopy little thing made of plastic and metal that smells kind of sweet and oily; is one of my oldest and most used possessions.

It's been in bathrooms and bedrooms all over the world. It's been present for all the monologues that I've given to myself in make-up mirrors, conversations with friends. It's sharpened countess make-up pencils and sharpened crayons and pencils for my kids. It's been with me throughout my daily life; through marriages, divorces, births, deaths, on road trips, camping, climbing, snowboarding. Present when I dressed for parties, celebrations, events of everyday life. It was there in the hospital when my children were born. I've used when I was sick, hungover, healthy, sad, happy, running late and every imaginable emotion or scenario of my life. The little lid that used to collect the pencil shavings got broken onetime when one of my sons played with it. It doesn't sharpen pencils like it used too, but I can't get rid of it and I don't want to buy a new one.

I've been thinking about objects lately, because: death. I keep my Father's hat on this shrine in my home.

I take the hat off the peg and wear it sometimes. But not like I did when my brother sent it to me after he died. Then I wore it a lot, my sons did too and we took it to all the places we like to go. When I first got it, it smelled like my Father and The Farm. Now it just smells like dust. I remember how sad I felt when I first got it and all those aromas filled my nose and memories flooded my brain. I feel sadder now that it smells like dust, an empty sadness. I still remember him and the memories but they aren't triggered by those smells of him. His mix of sweat, tobacco, dial soap. That is gone and I will never smell that again. Nor does it smell of The Farm; that wet piney smell of the WV forest mixed with the warm aroma of the chestnut paneled walls of the Farm House. I will smell that again, I just have to go to WV to do it.

Sometimes, most of the time, no, all of the time; I cannot grasp the meaning of life or nor do I have clue what our purpose here is. I don't understand anything; why we live, how we live, or our death. I think it's funny that of all my possessions that little make-up pencil sharpener has been a constant for over 3 decades - and all this is simply to say that I'm not gonna clean the gunk out of it - it's the residue of my life and one day it too will smell like dust.


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