We recently published L.P. Melling’s tender “The Caretaker’s Confession.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story.
1) I love the continuing imagery of the confetti in this piece, how it brings color into the caretaker’s life — and beyond. Do you think it is really the sweeping up of the confetti he likes, or do you think he is happier knowing he has missed a piece here and there?
The motif of the confetti came to me when I found a stray piece of confetti in an old suit, bringing back a happy memory. I love the idea of something disposable coming back to life for another occasion, whether a wedding or a funeral, as it slips from a lapel. Yes, I can certainly imagine the caretaker leaving the odd piece here and there for this exact reason, so even the coldest of days has specks of vivid colour, so bright memories are reawakened.
2) This caretaker feels like such a kind, thoughtful person to me — how he cares for the forgotten things so tenderly. Do you think the church could possibly replace him, or is he one of a kind?
I like to imagine how people are drawn to unique jobs, and I imagine all the workers who give care in the world and how they want to tend to the needs of what they look after, whether it is a person or the graveyard of a church for those lost. The tender but slightly mischievous dimensions to the character drew me to him, and I imagined what he would do when they work for so long in such an environment. The things we might want to do ourselves if we were alone in a church. I can’t imagine any caretaker quite like him when he is replaced but I hope the new caretaker shows as much care and love in his job.