The Reason ~ Ch 6
(Chapter 1 can be found here.)
Although Sister McDonally had assured Penny she would speak to the people, the response of the townfolk did not improve. Instead, after giving the picture of the playing children to their mother, her neighbor, as a gift, the response became even more negative. The people would whisper and clear the streets when she walked by them. They wanted nothing to do with her, seemingly frightened.
Hurt and completely confused, Penny arrived on the doorstep of her grandmother’s dearest friend in town. Lily and Penelope had been friends for as long as Penny could recall. The two loved one another through many sad and tragic events in their lives. They had both helped one another bury husbands many years before. They had both outlived their children and Penny knew that Lily must be missing Penelope horribly.
Knocking tentatively on the door, Penny was surprised to find Lily standing before her, her usual smiling self. “Oh Sweetheart, I’m so glad you’ve come for a visit. I’ve missed your Grandmum SO. Hmmm, I see that she gave it to you then… Come, come..”
Penny was bustled into the house and seated upon Lily’s grand floral camel back sofa. She was then plied with some of the most delicious rhubarb muffins that Penny had ever tasted and barely sweet green tea that tasted like each tea leaf had dusted itself with honey powder before jumping into her cup. Just as Penny thought she’d never be ready to truly talk to her, Lily drew her little legs up into her big chair and leaned back – looked Penny deeply in the eyes and said, “So, tell me about your life NOW – now that you have The Mirror, I mean.”
She was so involved in her own thoughts that it didn’t even register that Lily had said something about The Mirror. Instead, Penny shared with her the sadness she had, when she allowed herself to truly ponder on Grandmum’s passing and how her art had improved and how the plants growing in Grandmum’s garden were just lovely as usual and on and on. She soon found herself out of “safe” words. “Lily, there is one more thing – it’s the people – the people in town. They seem to be afraid of me.”
“Ahh, your Grandmum anticipated this. I wish she would have taken more time to explain it all to you. You see, my darling, it’s all because of The Mirror.”
“The Mirror?! I don’t understand.”
“I know, Sweetheart, but it’s true. And the people in town responded the same way to your Grandmum and myself many…many…many years ago. Those that are here now have long since forgotten the stories or perhaps they would not fear you so. They can see the life that is in you and they are afraid of it. It is foreign to them and they assume that it must be bad or they would see more of it in others. You must not judge them or be unkind to them. They simply don’t know any better.”
While Lily was talking, tears were running down Penny’s cheeks. That explained so many things. That explained why Grandmum didn’t go into town any more than she had to, and when she did, why she would cover her face and head as much as possible. She always told Penny that she did it because it was frightening to the people to see her silly curly hair. Penny suspected that was not the real reason, now.
Lily then told Penny the story of the day that Penelope told a young Lily of The Mirror and all about Ville D’eau and how Lily determined that she would find the little village and her own piece of The Mirror. She told of the long and arduous hike through the mountains and the devastation that had befallen the town since the destruction of The Mirror. She spoke of the night that she found her own shard, hiding in the bushes on the side of the mountain.
She recounted meeting her young husband….and burying him many, many years before. She shared of how her hair did not gray and how she did not age the way other women had. She quietly whispered of the pain of burying her children…and her grandchildren…and their children, all the while life continued to flow through her own veins.
She talked for many hours of the blessing and the burden of being a Shard Holder. She cried over the loneliness. She sang the joy of it. It was a night full of understanding and revelation for Penny.
It was a night that went on into the early hours of morning. After all the hours of sharing, Penny finally slept. Later the next day after many kisses and hugs and promises to return, Penny prepared to walk home.
While she was walking, she knew what she would have to do. She knew that the time had come to leave her little town. She knew she would never be able to find anyone courageous enough to love her, nor understand all the changes that were taking place in her physical body, let alone her heart or mind.
That night she dreamt of The Mirror again. She once again saw herself – her new beautiful self – standing in front of The Mirror. However, this time, in the shadows behind her she saw someone else. A man. His dark eyes met hers and in that second, the thing he held in his hand caught the light and every color of the rainbow exploded in her face.