Elizabeth 55th Day 02-24

by Administrator 24. February 2011 04:11

The sign on the outside of the small and antique looking store said “Everyday treasures from the past”. She couldn’t resist curiosity, looked cautiously through the tinted window and opened the front door, letting the squeaky sound invite her in the most eerie way.” Well…it seems, as a good prelude to a ghost story”, she thought to herself…taking few steps inside and gently closing the door. The room was a little dark, filled with a various household items, showing little wear and tear, but looking clean and inviting. Elizabeth loved antiques …it reminded her of continuity and also impermanence of our life.

 Looking at the different items she would imagine people and circumstances surrounding the history of that object. How their lives looked, what were they dreaming of, who did they love and cared for….?  Beth’s (that’s what her grandma called her for short) eyes rested on a delicate and fragile looking china tea set, consisting of a teapot and two cups with saucers. The beautifully decorated, white set showing pattern of the Lily of the Valley flowers was looking innocent and fresh. Elizabeth’s face brightened and her smile made her look sweet and relaxed, showing lovely dimples in her cheeks. She imagined the woman’s hand holding the teapot and carefully pouring the tea to one of the cups. Her hand was slim with the long fingers and a grace to its movement, covered with barely visible blue veins and age spots…”it must of belong to the older women”…Beth  thought, following her mental picture of pure imagination …. Just then, she visualized a little girl, maybe five or six years old, dressed in a white dress, laughing in delight and holding the cup with a deliberate attention…

 “Can I help you to find something”, the voice from behind her startled her, as she moved swiftly, turning 180 degrees and founding the pair of a dark, piercing eyes looking at her cautiously.  She blinked few times, as if trying to make sure it’s not one of her visions…In front of her, was standing a middle age man, dressed casually in blue jeans and a black sweater, accentuating his distinctively, dark hair and a set of brown eyes. Elizabeth took a moment to answer and then proclaimed in a formal tone of voice “No, thank you ...I was just looking around …” The man smiled, letting his face take on the friendly and pleasant demeanor and pointed toward the right side of the store, closer to the large window “We have currently a sale of few items, all of this section is 50% off” he stated briefly and then walked away, mumbling something to himself.

 Beth felt a little uncomfortable and surprised by his directness, but decided to spend few more minute in the store …while waiting for her son to finish his weekly violin lesson. She looked into the direction, pointed by (she assumed) the owner and walked to the area marked Sale-50% off. The small crystal figures were adorning glass shelves, showing its sparkle and clarity. She was looking at the miniature crystal statues of birds, crosses, different animals, musical instrument…and flowers. The crystal violin, she noticed in the back, would be a nice present for her son, she thought. Alex, her son was 12 years old and the only child she had. He showed some talent for the music and she was bringing him to violin lessons every week for almost a year. Friend of her recommended this great teacher, so she was driving over 50 miles to reach this little town. Elizabeth had an hour until  the lesson was over and used it, to go for a walks or visit the local stores, but it was the first time, that she visited this one…as a matter of fact she couldn’t remember seeing it before… She picked up the little crystal violin, bringing it closer to her eyes and examining its details…just then, she noticed a flickering prism of colorful light on her right  hand …she raised her eyebrows in surprise , looking suspiciously at the crystal violin but quickly realized that couldn’t be the source of it. She followed the light with her eyes and found the crystal ornament in the shape of a snowflake, hanging from the ceiling and creating the colorful display…” Simply beautiful”, she sighted…as she moved closer, it reminded her of the one she helped to hang on the Christmas tree, first  year she came to her new house and new family…

Beth was almost her son’s age, when finally she was adopted…after difficult years in few foster families, following the tragic death of her parents and then her grandma. The sweet, elderly couple made a decision to ask Beth to live with them permanently…despite few horror stories, following her from the foster homes. Elizabeth was never a troubled child, but she simply refused to talk or make any kind of contact with people, that she didn’t feel any connection. It was her way of protecting herself, since her parents and grandma disappeared from her life…She was like a turtle, she saw one time in a real life…in her shell, refusing to come out, until the “storm will go away”….Sandra and John, her adoptive parents were very patient and loving…giving her all the time in the world to observe and make her own choice. Beth loved them very much, now both of them in their 70s…  living with her…She wouldn’t have it any other way , after John had as stroke few years back… she insisted, on them moving in with her. They were remarkable couple, gentle, quiet and understanding…love was an everyday whisper to them and not the loud and showy act. Elizabeth couldn’t remember her parents very well, she was just two, when they were killed in car, head on collision, involving drunk driver…Her grandma took care of her until she passed away three years later, and her life changed forever. She wondered so many times, how would her life turned out if …that night the other driver wouldn’t decide to drive….Beth imagined her mom and dad raising her and spending time together…playing, learning, laughing and loving each other…Sometimes, she felt cheated by life, taking away from her the only family and home she knew…taking her history and childhood, reduced to just few pictures…Elizabeth didn’t like to dwell on that and feel pity for herself, she was grateful to have her husband, son , Sandra an John living together.

  She was still looking at the crystal snowflake, enjoying different colors of the prism, mischievously playing the game …”now you see me and now you don’t”….. She has decided to buy that crystal ornament, so she turned around to look for that strange man… He was nowhere in sight…but she heard some noise, as if someone would be moving boxes…”Excuse me” she said in a polite voice…nothing  happened …”excuse me sir” she repeated in the slightly  louder tone ….The noise stopped and the head of a men appeared from behind the wall…” Were you calling me?” he asked in the concern voice. “Yes “…she smiled and pointed toward the crystal ornament, “I would like to buy that crystal snowflake...But its …” she paused for a moment “ too high for me to reach …can you help me?”  Man looked at her with the worried look on his face and scratching his head said “I am afraid it’s not for sale…it was given to my grandfather as a gift from his friend and…”………”  I see “ …..She interrupted, feeling sad and disappointed….He looked at her closely, noticing frown on her face and genuine let down look… “Well …I maybe could sell it to you …but it’s a part of two other items …my grandfather made me promise not to separate them…” he said slowly weighting his words. Beth looked at him, hardly conceiving her surprised look …She thought the town was little run down and would imagine the sale of the merchandise wasn’t bringing high profits…but…that’s almost extortion...she thought.” I can’t help to promote this kind of selling technique ….there is no way, I will “…..the prism of colorful light danced gently on the man’s face, making him look almost pleasant…. She wanted that ‘stupid” crystal ornament” more than anything else in the long time…..

 Elizabeth heard herself saying “Good I will take it, if it’s not too expensive” and looked decisively into his eyes. The men looked surprised but then nodded his head few times and said … “all right. I will sell it to you...” He went to grab a chair, climbed on it quickly and started untying the crystal snowflake….” As I said”...he continued talking, “it belonged to my grandfather’s old friend…I think you will like the tea pot…I saw you looking at that….and the painting….” He took down the ornament, which was looking even more beautiful from close up and let the faint smile cover his face…saying “It needs a good home…with kids…it needed it for some time now...” He packed it in ordinary brown paper, joined by the tea pot set and then, went to the back to bring the painting, fully covered. Ringed the price on the old looking cash register and said firmly “ 19.99$ , that’s all “…. looking indifferent…” that’s it..?” she asked with the puzzled expression. “As I said, 19.99$….do you want to buy it or not?”

 Elizabeth reached quickly to her pocket, took out 20 $ bill and handed to him, feeling her throat getting tighter…” Thank you…thank you very much…I will take good care of it” she spoke in one breath….” I know you will …” he said handling her back one cent… Beth took it without an objection, lifted the bag with an ornament and the tea pot set with great caution and grabbed the painting in her other hand…. “Let me help you “he said opening the doors… “she was my grandfather’s best friend ….he loved her very much ..It’s a picture of her…her name was Elizabeth “…. Beth took a step outside toward the sunny street … “It’s sort of a sad story    he continued…you know…her only daughter with her husband died in the car accident and she took care of the little girl, they left behind…before she died … three years… later…My grandfather was heartbroken and always believed her granddaughter should have that…he even tried to find her…but no luck..Well I am glad you have it..Have a great day” and he closed the door. Elizabeth put gently the bag on the sidewalk , next to her and holding the painting with one hand , started tearing the paper with shaking hands….The face of her grandmother , named Elizabeth…just like her, emerged… looking at her , smiling , as if saying “ hello again….we never really parted…I was always by your side…” . The sun shone a light on the painting, showing a beauty of it, the hand holding a tea cup with Lily of the Valley flowers was  slim with the long fingers and bluish veins…. Looking simply breathtaking……

 

 

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The Little Prince

"People where you live," the little prince said, "grow five thousand roses in one garden... yet they don't find what they're looking for..."

"They don't find it," I answered.

"And yet what they're looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water..."

"Of course," I answered.

And the little prince added, "But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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