I left a keepsake under Hemingway’s pillow.

May 10, 2018

It was hot and bright that day and the red yarn bracelet wore thin on my wrist. In January I had gone to the broken temples of Siem Reap at sunrise. Amid the sunlight and shadows, a quiet Buddhist woman worked under a bamboo hat, plaiting strands of yarn and tying them onto the wrists of tourists and asking for a small donation. Bad luck to take the bracelet off. It will come off when ready.

the temple of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is a bucket list destination
When the Buddhist lady ties it on, keep it until it falls off naturally.

Five months later it was threadbare and worn thin, ready to leave me.
It looked like a thread of blood on my pale flesh and I knew it was nearly done. The yarn came off on the ship and I put it in my sunglasses case and brought it with me to the white house with the gardens and cats.

cats don’t care

We threw down 14 clams apiece to go inside and we walked around the creaking floors with the inquisitive whispering strangers and we looked around at Ernest’s house.

Hemingway’s typewriter

Movie posters and typewriters surrounded the old, breathing rooms.
There were docents who knew things like how the house cost 8 grand back in the 1930s and how a penny became embedded in the patio.


His bedroom was light and spare with a green verandah and a white chenille spread. A tabby cat slept between the pillows, unperturbed by all the visitors filing through and taking pictures.

I left something under the pillow in the foreground. It was meant to be.

He liked his women. He liked his alcohol. He liked the urinal he stole from Sloppy Joe’s Bar and dragged home in the night and kept because he was mad about his wife spending 20 grand on the pool.

And he’s gonna like the present I left for him under his pillow.
That white chenille pillow with the sleeping cat.

And now the Buddhist’s broken strand of red yarn is there. I placed it where it is meant to be. The breeze blowing over everything.

And we said goodbye to Ernest and continued our journey.

We’re all feeling fine. There’s nothing wrong with us. We feel fine.

[My #HemingwayImitation. With apologies.] #Hemingway #KeyWest #BucketList #writerspilgrimage #CheapImitation #HillsLikeWhiteElephants

| 1 Comment
  • Hello, Susan. I am a reader at 65-years-old. Still love a good story, a twisty-turny romance, and strong characters.

    My husband and I visited Ernest Hemingway’s home years ago when we purchased a show cat. Did you see cats? There were a lot of cats when we toured the home.

    We no longer show cats. We did not like the negative competitive nature of cat breeders. Sigh.

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