In My Desk

Someone, maybe me, had cut the old pink eraser in half. Black letters on it say, “elix.” A little ® after the “x” means, even though some of the name is missing, that the trademark is registered with the appropriate government agency.

My eraser is registered with an appropriate government agency. This gives it some authority. The right to delete.

The cut side is square and clean, the tapered side is worn down and dirty. It has apparently weathered and removed much pencil activity.

I have a question: where is its missing half? Is it lost in the detritus of a husband’s desk? Does my eraser long for its other half? Each time I use it, is it grieving?

And those words it has destroyed: Where did they go? What were they?

This rubbery pink eraser works by shedding itself as it lifts the pencil marks from the surface of paper. The wearing away is slow.

These days, I do not often use pencils, and thus erasers, with the exception of my paper calendar: family gatherings and travel plans cancelled, a lunch date put on hold, indefinitely. Celebrations missed, now forgotten.

The eraser leaves a faint imprint, like a ghost, of my mother’s name, her birthday party. The letters are barely visible, covered by the words in pencil: doctor’s appointment. I turn calendar pages. Then in May my eraser has deleted doctor’s appointment. We had stopped going.

This eraser, even as it sheds, outlasts a life. It has an authority. It trails little black fragments of graphite with its worn edge, particles of what might have happened. And did not.

Shira Musicant, a long time resident of Santa Barbara, is a somatic psychotherapist and an adjunct professor at Antioch University Santa Barbara. Her writing can be found in the Santa Barbara Literary Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, Literally Stories, Gold Man Review, and Montana Mouthful. writingbyshiramusicant.com

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