My mother’s chores always drew my sisters and me back to her house. Over a weekend a few years ago, while we proceeded through a lengthy list, I grew committed to one task: clean a corner of the basement floor. While at it, I sensed there was something bigger I was trying to scrub away, something I couldn’t name at the time. So I scrubbed, on hands and knees, a daughter cleaning for her mother, in a small basement in a small town close to major military and industrial sites. One is a chemical company whose home-care products make up just a tiny percentage of its portfolio.
Now, of course, I know what subliminal message was seeping into me that day. Not long after, when my sisters and I prepared the house for sale, I remember thinking, this section of the basement floor is spotless. I didn’t use any chemicals, either. Just elbow grease.
My flash nonfiction on my war with the floor appears in Issue 8 of Adanna. Founder Christine Redman-Waldeyer introduces the journal by explaining that the name Adanna, a Nigerian word meaning “her father’s daughter,” inspired her to think of the way women have always been defined, and how women can redefine their roles and themselves through writing. Thank you, Christine and Adanna, for including “War and Love” in this meaningful issue.