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In Flight
Forced Smiles
Happy Oblivion
Ducking Destiny
Chance of Showers
Chance Encounters
The Thinking Dog
The Race
Flight of the Ostrich
Monster Under My Bed
The Rose Garden
Window Shopping
Dramatic Romances
Musings on Nature
A Day at School
The Holy Light
A Rainy Night


The Roller Coaster
The Purse
Sammy's Lesson
The Legend of the Hungry Dragon
Spirits in the Night


My Philosophy of Life
Five Scholarship Questions
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
Prophets for God
My Service Project (1999-2000)
My Service Project (1997-1998)
The Beauty of the Forest
Reaching Beyond

The Pastry Menace
A College Just for You!
The Rights of Plants

Literary Analyses
Saving Harry:  Clearing the Controversy Over Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Essays on Wuthering Heights
The Creature in Frankenstein and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Edna's Decision in The Awakening
Character Comparison in Kate Chopin's The Awakening
Why The Chosen?

Research Papers
Race, Norms, and the Sidewalk
Analytical Exercise
The Validity of Comparing Governments
The British System: Legal-Rational Or Traditional?
The Importance of Framing
Madison on Factions
Spirituality and the Brain
Sea Water and Conductivity

Clinic Violence: A "Moral" Way to Bring About Change?
Graduation Speech
The Call to Relationship
Mark Twain Speaks Again (original version)
Mark Twain Speaks Again (shortened version)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Year 2000
Hunting for Sport?

Mercury Spill Exercise
Chocolate Feature Exercise
Character Sketch
Reaction Story
Aspiring Actress Profile
"Shark Attack" Exercise
Villa Maria Academy Hosts Diversity Panel

Coastal Vacation


The Purse

My purse was growing heavy to the point where a couple extra bills added would rip my arm out of its socket. I needed to clean it out; I had seen this moment coming for several weeks. Still, I resisted. I wore heavier coats and shoulder pads to relieve the pressure of its weight. I risked a mugging by allowing my purse to hang open when it refused to close. I made a valiant effort, but I could not escape the inevitable. As I was leaving the house this morning, attempting to heave my tremendous purse up and onto my unwilling shoulder, I lost my grip on the behemoth. A waterfall of junk spilled onto my carpet.

I squatted amid the garbage littered at my feet. At first the trash was all that I noticed: used tissues, crumpled register tapes, napkins with moldy ketchup encrusted on their folds, and broken, empty compacts. The newly-released odor emanating from the messy heap was nauseating.

Grumbling under my breath, I began to root through the pile, tossing tissues and napkins and compacts into the wastebasket. I wondered what possibly could have prevented me from ridding myself of this rubbish in the first place.

I grabbed a handful of garbage from the floor. After disposing of everything that smelled funny, I was left with a picture. It was not anything unusual, only an old photograph of my mother. She had been folding laundry. Spotting me with the camera, she began pitching socks and boxer shorts at my head. I had snapped the shot just before a handkerchief landed on my lens.

I smiled as the memory bubbled to the surface. I remembered how she had laughed when I showed her that picture. It had resided in a place of honor on our refrigerator until that house was sold. I had placed it in my purse for safekeeping and promptly forgotten about it.

I carefully placed the photograph at the bottom of my purse. My mind elsewhere, I packed my bag with all my other junk. My purse was still heavy, but it was no longer a burden as I carried it out the door.

Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002