Sunday, February 04, 2007

Because I've not written like this for a while.

Snowflakes the size of eider down were blowing past the window. The lacy fabric that made the curtains hung against the pristine clear glass giving the impression that there were twice the number of flakes falling. The occasional gust of wind blew the sheer lace away from the window and made the room cool from the draft that the loose window casement allowed. The snow would dance about on the outside of the pane as the curtains moved with them on the inside as if they heard a music that no human could hear.

Across the room there were logs from the apple tree that fell in the spring crackling in the fireplace, the room was filled with the rich aroma of the roasting apple branches. The oil lamp on the small library table flickered in competition with the fireplace, it wasn't the usual form of light for the room, but today it had been lit to assist with the ambiance; the mood that the room was being instructed to take on just as one might add a scarf or pin to dress up a drab woolen overcoat.

She lifted the old hickory chair from its place at the table and set it next to the window. A blast of cold wind blew the lace away from the window frame as she did so. The chill and the draft made her remember that she needed her sweater from the arm of the sofa. With the dark gray sweater hanging from her shoulders and buttoned at her throat, it made her think of the strict and colorless librarian who worked in the elementary school when she was very young. Her father knew the woman well, he had been sent to the hall by her many times when he was a lad in grammar school. He often spoke of her as being so old that she was in the same high school yearbook as Adam and Eve. Even the wit of her father didn't bring light to her face, though there were few times that thoughts of his bon mots did not bring a smile to her face.

A darker cloud moved across the sky dimming not just the room but the landscape as well. The dark day was very welcome, it matched her mood, her heart felt as heavy as the dark snow clouds appeared to be outside of the window. How could they be that heavy and not fall from the sky she wondered. They are falling from the sky she thought, they are just doing it one flake at a time. It was their method they were using to fall, not the one that she would have prescribed.

On the table by the window sat a simple wooden box, it was not primitive it was tastefully understated. She ran her finger across the satin finished edge of it and admired the beautifully colored inlaid woods that created a picture on the lid of the box. There was a dark red curvy piece inset in the lid,, many loden colored pieces fashioned pine trees and a nearly white piece of birch cut into a perfect circle made the moon. A river running through the trees, the simplicity of the picture made it even more serene and peaceful to look at.

Out of doors it was growing darker making it more difficult to see the snow against the pine trees in the woods across the barn lot. She squinted to see the trees as they disappeared into the night. A gust blew the curtain again just as she raised the lid of the box she had been admiring. As she did the music began to play, the tines and teeth powered by a main spring played Moon River. Tied with a pink ribbon was a lock of her dearest's hair. They cut the glistening strands from her silken mane the morning of her first chemo knowing they should do so before her hair was gone. They would listen to Andy Williams sing Moon River on the car stereo as they traveled to the cancer center. She always called her, “my Huckleberry Friend,” as she let her out at the door of the oncology center and she never failed to look at her in the rear view mirror as her sweetheart trudged to the door. Now there was only this flaxen lock from the music box and the tight curl coiled up in the oval locket that hung between her own breasts. She closed her eyes and whispered the words to the music box's accompaniment ...”moon river and me.”


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