SCRIBBLE MAY 2022 HEADER.jpg

MAINTENANCE

by Olivia Germann

            Walking inside, the air felt different. Disturbed. On the surface, the apartment looked the same as when I had left. But there was a shift, and an undeniable understanding that something had changed. I walked slowly, looking at each of my items with a trained eye. Was my sofa creased that way earlier? Is that how I folded the blanket?

            I stood in the center of the apartment and rotated, hoping to catch a glimpse of what was eluding me. Eyes hopped from the floor covered in a thrifted Persian rug, the side table covered in trashy magazines, the bookcase overfilled and spilling over with volumes upon volumes that I may never read.

            My eyes caught on the clock I had brought from my mother’s home after her death. It was in the same spot. But I couldn’t put my finger on why it felt wrong. I went over and examined it closely. It was clean, no dust. And the timepiece ticked away, matching the thud of my heart. I set it down.

Then I ran my finger across the shelf it was sitting on. Dusty. Which makes sense, because I’m not much of a housekeeper. So then why was the clock clean? I picked it up again, looking closer this time. The back of the clock was fastened with a small catch, one that I never opened unless I needed to wind it, but I popped it open now.

            Inside was a small piece of paper, folded together tightly. I worked the paper loose from its bonds and in my mother’s small spider-like script was a message.

            “You have to oil the gears too”

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Olivia Germann is a 26-year-old writer from Chicago, currently residing in Newport News, Virginia as the director for the Creative Writing Magnet Program at Woodside High School. She is a queer artist, choosing to spread her work across genres and platforms. She received her MFA from National University and has been previously published by Helen: A Literary Magazine, Turnpike Magazine, and Yemassee Journal among others. It is her goal is to make her art accessible and expressive both on and off the page for all audiences.

SCRIBBLE MAY 2022 HEADER.jpg