The Response ~Ch 5 ~

(Go here to start the story at the beginning)

Penny sat in the sitting room – facing the chair she found Grandmum in. The toile box was in her lap. Carefully she opened it and stared at The Mirror shard. It was beautiful – even just lying in the box, there was a beauty about it that could not be explained in normal words. In that moment, Penny decided that she needed to know more about this mirror.

The next few weeks were taken up with dealing with Grandmum’s estate – not that there was much – but there was some. During that time, Penny had little, if any, time to draw. But one thing she noticed is that her drawing seemed to be improving. The pictures she was drawing had more life to them, almost as if they were coming off the page – they almost seemed to be breathing. She didn’t take the time to consider why that might be, she just delighted in the changes in her work.

One day, as she was wrestling with a particularly difficult facial feature in her drawing of the neighbor’s children playing and eating in the strawberry patch, she felt the aching desire to hold Grandmum’s small piece of The Mirror. She wandered into her bedroom, opened the box and simply stared at it. The colors that it reflected from about the room were so rich that even just seeing them encouraged Penny enough, she thought she might be able to complete her drawing just by the act of opening the box and looking upon it.

But then she touched the shard – and when she touched it, almost by their own volition, her eyes closed. As they did so, she could SMELL the strawberries and feel their sticky warm juice on her fingers. She could feel the heat of the sun upon her shoulders and feel the breeze caress her cheeks. She opened her eyes quickly, puzzled, almost frightened. Then, deciding that this was nothing but an indication of what a lack of human contact could do, she gathered up her things and decided to take a stroll into town.

With her shawl on to guard against the coming evening chill, she strolled into town nodding and smiling at everyone she passed. The people, oddly enough, were not smiling nor nodding in return. She wondered if they were responding so strangely in response to the passing of Grandmum. Perhaps they felt that it was too soon for her to abandon the black shawl she would normally wear – in exchange for the beautiful soft, light one Grandmum had made for her last spring. It was the colors of spring – fern greens, pale yellows, lavenders and pinks. She just loved wearing it.

After her strange reception, she gathered up her groceries and made a beeline straight for home. Walking in the door, she found her fingers aching – tingling – to be back about their work. She wandered in to stand beside the table, staring at her drawing. Before she knew it, she was hard at work fixing the frustration of earlier in the day and adding new color to the whole thing.

Hours later when she had finished, she leaned back and looked at the picture – drinking in deeply the depth of color and emotion that her pencils had captured. She didn’t remember ever being able to draw with this much power before. It was so odd.

It was a week before she needed to go into town again and the people responded almost exactly the same way that they had before. The difference this time is that they were openly avoiding her. They would make a point of crossing the street to not have to look her in the face. Puzzled she nearly ran over the pastor’s wife.

“OH I’m so sorry, please, won’t you forgive me?” Penny asked of her.

She tentatively reached out and patted Penny’s arm. “It’s quite all right, dear. It was obvious you were deep in thought.”

Penny smiled, “Yes, I am….I was. Sister…” Penny started, then paused with great hesitancy. “Sister, why is everyone acting so strangely toward me?”

Sister McDonally looked to the ground. “Well Penny, perhaps it’s the changes in your… countenance that have caused them to act differently.”

Penny responded with a start, “My countenance? What could possibly have changed about my countenance, except that with Grandmum’s passing, my own cooking is not nearly as good and I’ve been losing weight…”

Sister reached out again, only this time she looked Penny deep in the face and said, “Penny Dear, do you mean to tell me you see no difference in your appearance?”

“No Sister, I don’t. Can you tell me what you see?”

She looked deep into Penny’s eyes, trying to discern if Penny was attempting to mislead her in any way. Determining that she was not, she spoke very slowly, “Well, then I will uh, well, I will say that…Penny, your hair is a richer color of auburn and your eyes are a brighter green. There is more blush to your cheeks and you are more beautiful than you have ever been. There is a look about your face that I would normally attribute to one being with child….” She paused “or possessed” she mumbled under her breath.

Penny was openly laughing so she didn’t hear all that she had said. “Oh Sister, the only child I am great with is myself! I cannot fathom what possible difference you might see in me, but there is nothing in my life that would warrant such a change. Please assure the people that there is nothing in my life that should cause them fear or alarm in any way. Please Sister, I do not want my beloved neighbors to have any concern for me.”

Sister McDonally nodded and said, “I will tell them.”

Penny hugged her – and walked away – with the colors of spring dancing about her shoulders.

******

After dinner that night, Penny found herself doing something that was becoming more and more of a habit. She was speaking to The Mirror piece. “You will never believe it,” she said, “they thought I might be with child, I guess. They said my appearance had changed. Have you ever heard such silliness?” The Mirror seemed to gather all the candle light in the room and bounce it about, as though it were laughing with her. “I thought not,” she said.

That night she dreamt of The Mirror hanging on the wall of the bath house. In her dream, she stood in front of it and looked at herself.

Her eyes were greener. They reminded her of a trillium she had seen in the forest a few days ago, when the sunshine came peeking through the trees and lit the stem and leaves up as though the light were coming from the inside out.

Her hair was richer in color – as though each strand had a life of its own – it seemed to gather up and refract any light that came in contact with it.

She stood and stared at herself. She was truly, truly beautiful. And her reflection was so real, it seemed to be breathing.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Response ~Ch 5 ~”
  1. Okay…next please…I have to know!

    You’re killing me, Dawn!

    😉

    Stevie

  2. javadawn says:

    Stevie, Stevie, Stevie, (shaking my head) don’t you know?!! I am your personal sanctification container. 😀 😉

    Not much longer, Darlin’

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