A Prequel to Susan Glaspell's Short Story, Trifles

A Prequel to Susan Glaspell's Short Story, Trifles

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A Prequel to Susan Glaspell's Short Story, "Trifles"


Minnie Foster was once described as the belle of the ball. To look at her tonight for the first time you could see why. She carried herself with both an air of confidence and modesty at the same time. Her small eyes dominated her face. They did not look directly at you anymore though. Still, they seemed all knowing and experienced as if they were able to see and know secrets about you that you wish no one knew. Her slender peaked nose was no match for the full lips she had, lips that never uttered a sound and which have become as pale as her knuckles. Her lips were pierced shut protecting the thoughts in her head from falling out one by one to the hard flooring.

This morning Minnie felt a little different. No one was home. No one was there to bother her. Why then, did she feel the need to continue on like a caged animal within her own home? She cautiously continued down from the upstairs.

Minnie’s right foot led the way and paused on each step. Like a young child first learning to master the staircase she would wait for her left foot to catch up before leading again with her right. Her feet glided lightly across the wooden steps and only the dust particles felt her movement. She seemed to have a pillow of air floating underneath her. Quite ironically, with each descending stride her body took, her hand would tightly grip the banister until her veins were crushed against her tightened skin with no way out.

Gliding over to the kitchen, Minnie continued with her everyday tasks. She began by clearing the table, a task that should have been completed the night before but was left untouched. She put things away one by one and in a quiet manner. She lightly opened and shut the cupboards, placing pots and pans where they belonged, one by one, straight from the table to under the sink. It was cold in that kitchen. Minnie looked out the window to her neighbor’s house. Perhaps today she would go visit; perhaps today she would not.

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The same thought came and went as it had so many times before.

Minnie needed a fire. She walked over to the oven and opened it to see if it was on at all. There was no heat coming out, but Minnie soon forgot what her purpose had been. The loaf of bread she found within the oven distracted her. Forgetting a night had passed since she placed it in, Minnie continued on with her baking routine and placed the loaf by the breadbasket. She leaned over to a drawer, pulled out a fresh towel and covered her loaf. Returning to the oven, Minnie bent over and once again tried to start a blaze that would warm her from the inside out. She needed that flame; she was determined to get it. Fidgeting and mussing about, she kept trying to get the flame going. Time passed unnoticed and she was still dazed by that oven. The soil and soot was disturbed so much that it rested upon Minnie. Awakened from her trance by the morning birds outside chirping their praise to life, Minnie noticed her soiled hands and face. The towel hung fresh by the oven and so she used it to pat the dirt from her skin. Lightly at first, as she was used to doing most things. But then she became a little harsher and a little bit more abrupt. She scrubbed and rubbed and used that towel to scratch her face and hands. She was trying to get clean. She was trying to wipe the soot from her body but she could not get clean enough. The friction was daring to go deeper within. She wanted it to go deeper within. She wanted it all to be gone; she wanted all the dirt she felt within to be gone too. She scrubbed hard and bending over with all focus on the towel she moved it about her face and hands quickly and harshly. Over and over she kept scrubbing and rubbing. " Have to get clean, I have to get clean” she thought in a panic.

She allowed no more. Remembering herself she knew she had to be in control. She returned the towel to its place and continued on with her tasks. She wiped the table, sending all the crumbs to the floor. She watched them fly from her towel to the ground. She had such control over things like that. She could send anything flying to the ground. Catching the view from her window again she noticed that the land was so vast from her house to the next. She had never noticed the immense land before. The morning sun hung fresh above the blanket of snow and here she was wiping the kitchen table. Deciding to leave it half done she gathered her quilting tools and headed over to her chair.

She did not remember being able to quilting this early in the morning before. While knotting her quilt she kept thinking about she liked to do so much and yet, she could not remember the last time she was ever allowed to do anything for herself; the harder she tried to remember, the harder her knotting became; the more intense her thinking became, the more intense her knotting became; the quicker she tried to think, the quicker her knotting became. Her hands trembled and moved each knot quicker and quicker trying to keep up with the rage in her head. “Ugh!” She let out in a gasp.

She allowed no more. It was time to wait. He would be here soon. He did not like to see frivolous occurrences. She will just sit and wait for him now. He should be coming any moment. In fact, where was he? She would just sit and wait. Yes, sit and wait for her husband.
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