White Life


The blinding flash of a Polaroid. Small hands gloved and folded in prayer; communion veil and opal cross, posing near white roses. Bobby socks and saddle shoes; fingertips twirling cotton poncho fringe.


Streetlights. Sidewalk chalk and laced-up skates on frozen ponds. Rusty white station wagon and drive-in theaters; huddled under blankets on the roof, warding off mosquitoes.


Drops of blood in a porcelain bowl. Bumpy bras under starched white shirts with sweetheart collars. Moustache laced with beer foam; yellowed fingers clamping a cigarette nub; skin stretched over battered knuckles; shattered fluorescent lights.


Powdery lines. Tiny white pills. Endless sets of gleaming teeth nipping across taut firm curves. Jumbo jets and runway lights. Sailboats, sand and rolling waves; stucco cathedrals.


White-tipped toes in pearly shoes, dancing, spinning, barely touching the floor. Linen, cotton, silk and lace; china, glass, porcelain, and wood. Garlic, yogurt, rice and eggs. Flour and sugar and cream joyfully joined with plastic spatulas. Fifty-six shades of paint: sandy beaches, sailcloth beige, angel touch and seashore fog.


Dreams of a gossamer gown, a tiny mouth at a full breast. Clumps of blood in a porcelain bowl. The white plastic stick never turning blue. Tiny pills. Crisp sheets and down pillows that cradle and soothe. Mountains of paper. Jumbo jets and runway lights.


A rocking chair – wicker and white.  Bibs and milk and cotton balls; bonnets and diapers and blankets. Lovingly, pleasingly white.

Andrea Fox’s personal essays have been published or are forthcoming in Underwired Magazine, Adoptive Families, Parents and The Horn Book Magazine, and on Babble.com, among others. She was the Fall 2011 Top Nine contest runner-up on errant parent.

After receiving her master’s degree from Brown University, she taught high school English for 20 years. She is at work on a memoir, Poured Out Like Water, about the intersection of alcoholism, adoption, and an erroneous bipolar diagnosis.

Andrea lives in Boston where she is a member of Boston’s creative writing center, Grub Street.

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