Sunday, April 29, 2012

the shells

The garden is empty,the only sound is the palm fronds slapping together in the afternoon breeze and the small fountain which bubbles water up from a pipe.The pond with the fountain has several very large orange and white goldfish.It is a small garden shaded by large old oaks and there are a few wrought iron tables and chairs and pots with Impatience.A small brick path cuts through to the front door of the old inn that has operated as such since the 1700s.

A small figure appears at the gate and then she cautiously comes in and over to the pond and the fish.She has a school uniform on and long straight blond hair to her shoulders.She might be eleven or twelve and her concentration is marked.I watch from a window as she turns and I see what is not obvious at all at first.She has a cranial deformity with a thin face that is not round but pointed.I am  shocked and saddened. As I watch ,a young woman comes in to the garden,takes her hand and they walk out ,onto the street and up the block.

Several days later,almost as if she has been drawn to me by my thinking so often of the two of them ,the Mother is on the beach walking towards me.She has found three beautiful shells.I stop and admire her shells and we start to talk and her story pours out in a stream of pain.She has just moved here with her daughter,feeling led to leave the cold North behind with all the stares. It was a pull she couldn't ignore.She is very unsure that she made the right move.She has yet to find a job and when Celeste goes to school her loneliness is so oppressive.That's why she got on her bike to go to the beach.She was looking for something to let her know that all would be well.Her mother always told her that if she was sad she needed to get busy and do something.Wash a window,write a letter.So, she rode her bike.

Gloria tells of riding the Greyhound down the East Coast and how the sunshine made her hopeful, that it would brown her daughter's face and warm her thin arms.I nodded as the warmth touched my shoulders.

The Sisters at the school have assured Gloria that Celeste will feel at home in her smaller classroom with the sun streaming in and hot lunches at noon.She is comforted by that.She tells me about the small green and pink house they have rented a half block from the inn and a block from the school.The girl's room has a large window with a bright white shelf that holds a picture of goldfish and now the shells can go there.The girl calls it her" happy window."We smile,her mother and I ,and part.



Anonymous said...

Somewhere the Bible gives us this glimpse of glory: "Do not hesitate to entertain strangers, for in so doing you may entertain angels, unaware."
Your story moved my heart. What a divine appointment! How much we have been blest with...and how fleeting our appreciation. I can just imagine the cares a woman like that would carry in her heart.

How like you to listen and encourage her as she voiced her worries and burden. God smiled!
"Bear ye one anothers burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ."

sharon graham said...

Your words are so kind and precious to me.Thank you.Sha

Missy said...

You always have a story about how a stranger has touched you. The way you take the time to listen to anyone who crosses your path is inspirational. Thx.