WHAT-IF and THE TAN VALISE
~ Epic*sode 5 through time ~
THE VILLAGE SMITHY
As told by ~ Absolutely*Kate
~ Epic*sode 5 through time ~
Click here for The Beginning ~ THE VILLAGE SMITHY
Click here for Epic*sode 2 ~ "Need A Hoof Nipper?"
Click here for Epic*sode 3 ~ "Time Travel Is A Healer, Right?"
Click here for Epic*sode 4 ~ "Rogues All!"
"Darling, it's a human trait to dream What-If -- "
"But Mommy, What-If can come true, right?"
"Well Lizzie, sometimes when you push it, or turn it, or twist it just so, anything becomes possible."
The little girl, crossed-legged on the gold braided rug in front of her mother's mahogany dressing table, set aside the dolls and stuff of playtime. She warbled song snippets as she lined them up pretty as precision, all in a just-right row. Barbie and Buddy Bear and two seashells and her Grandfather's extra pocket-watch she was allowed to handle if she was very, very careful, and a shiny tiny red clown car. Mommy always said clown cars get to go to the funniest places. They laughed at that, squiggling their eyes up then down, to make even funnier funny faces. They laughed a very whole lot, her and her Mommy. And they made up stuff. But they always said it was true. Made up stuff can be. Well, Mommy said.
If she craned her neck, she could feel shimmering up above, every time crystal pendants shook light into ribbons rippling off the low lamp by the mirror when her Mommy laughed. Mommy laughed a very whole lot. It came out a silver sound like wind chimes and made rooms happier than even orange sherbet on a hot day or apple muffins for breakfast or lime green tissue wrapped packages or even her new kitten, Freddy Fluffo. The day they got him, Mommy sang in her best singsongy voice, "A kid's not a kid unless she has a cat named Fred sleepin' under her bed!" Then Mommy let loose a little dancey twirl right there in her bedroom doorway and yelped out, "Fanny Brice could learn a thing or three from me, yessiree!" Freddy Fluffo perked up on the dancey shouty-out part and crept tawny fur out from under the bed and Mommy got down low and curtsied real easy-pleasy to him, right there in her best navy blue flouncy skirt. And we laughed, oh how we laughed even Freddy in his own cat-ivating way.
~ ~ ~
"Cat got your tongue, Miss? I've asked you now three times if you liked stew. I shan't ask again. My sisters, Effie and Marguerite run a right nice rooming house here in Essex at the edge of the village green. They serve up about this time. I was wondering what if you're hungry, you being a newcomer to our town, fresh off the steam train, though drenched to all get-out now. I'm usually not a man of this many words, but something in the wind is telling my thoughts your spirit doesn't quench. So Miss, what if we moseyed on over? It's a very popular place, a lively place and sometimes, well, sometimes folks just get up out of their chairs and sing -- "
Liza roused herself to the invitation tempting fate before her while raindrops kept falling on her head, raindrops playing misty rather than bothersome now. The smith, a mighty nice man seemed he. She should say something. Anything, and quickly too. He was peering at her, as if he could see her through and true. She should liven into less than a dolt, who had plopped down on a place on a gold braided rug where safe felt home-happy and a tiny shiny clown car created its own parades. "Well smithy, I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin' -- Nothing's worrying me. And -- these friendly villagers of yours -- you're telling me -- They actually sing?"
"You repeat well Miss," the village smithy chuckled low, but clear, with an extra splash of dark reflective pools -- his eyes. Or maybe it was the rain. Cross currents fathomed the soggy though stalwart woman before him who had been hassled by the hustle of the tussle with the curmudgeon candlestick maker making moves for her tan valise. He noted she still clutched the worn leather handle far too close for a casual passing on through. "Though you seem to have traveled a hundred miles away -- Miss?"
~ ~ ~
The mirror up there was chockfull. Liza called it Reflection City when she played make believe for real in her Mommy's room. There were backs of little statues of dressed up porcelain ladies and brassy gentlemens she would move around for Let's-have-a-show, a creamy circle Sunbeam clock that ticked, ticked time where time wanted to go and a slim book of printed poems propped up behind a cobalt bottle that spouted buttercups and black-eyed susans picked for Mommy that day. On the next to the last page in the slim book of poetry propped behind the cobalt blue, was taped careful what Mommy said was a key for me, for you. There were reflections of pots of swirly pinks and ruby reds which her mother touched magnificently to her face just so, to put on what she called her going-out face. Fascinated by colours and textures and all the magic that changes the picture when you concentrate on just so, her big little mind wrapped 'round and 'round What-If.
"Sooo, What-If I grow up some and sneak out in the night, barefoot right out the back kitchen door, being careful not to let it slam or creak but sneak out Matthew's red Schwinn and ride and ride all over countrysides where the time isn't the time it is now and then . . . well, then What-If I forget which roads to turn to come back to you? Will you come find me? Will you bring me home and hold me close and laugh and make the day our jokehouse and teach me to bake butterscotch brownies for supper and do puzzles and color the other page in the color book on the floor alongside me? Well, will you? Mom?"
The shadow came fast. The shadow came hard, one large steel-edge workboot crushing the head of formerly furry Fred, stomping the mood of the room where shimmering and make believe had played out good intentions. Reality came in dark. No songs, no spark.
His voice was gravel guts gruff, this shadow, this gloom in the room. "Tell her. Tell her Molly. Tell her now where What-If takes you. The girl's old enough to know. Then show her." Part of the shadow, a very deep dark part of the shadow lunged for the heart of the part of Liza's mother already down on the floor gathering up a little girl from a gold braided rug. There came a rip and a shatter and a scream where time seemed to careen. A porcelain lady lost her head. Sea shells became shards cutting sharp into a little girl's knee, and Liza bled. A bloody spot stained the gold braided rug, where a mother held fast a daughter to her.
|THE TAN VALISE ~ photo ala Humbert15|
The whisper whizzed fast, like a song wrung out of key ~ "Try to remember. Remember you, remember me. The poem book -- Lizzie, the key. When you go, where you go, take the tan valise.
There you'll see."
There you'll see."
~ ~ ~
"Stew you say?", Liza repeated into the mist on the village green concealing the same in her eyes.
The bulk of the solid village smithy before her nodded once, waited, nodded twice.
"Certainly I like stew. Who doesn't?"
~ ~ ~
In the town of Essex, the town that Liza was making her new town -- across the village green, the butcher, who was sweet on Marguerite, wrapped and tied a paper package of choice cut meat. In the shop next door, the baker had had some fine day, rolling in the dough. Generously he bagged croissants, cloverleafs and hot cross buns, locked his door and ran through the wet grass that made the village green to catch up with his chum. "Saaaaay. I'm going for stew. You?"
Behind heavy closed curtains and incantations, the cocksure candlestick maker pored through the large gilt-edged tome spread wide on the table before him, muttering, muttering. Lordy, he was so hot and bothered, why . . . he was smokin'.
~ ~ ~
"When the time is right to make the time right -
why then, you'll know where to go.
What-If is inside you . . . and the tan valise."
Liza's mother's last words danced every day in her head. This night of this day though, she met Effie. She met Marguerite. She swallowed a very tasty stew and nibbled good bread. She knew when the time came, she'd know What-If to do. Liza nodded to the butcher and the baker, and sang along new songs with new villagers in her new town of Essex. Liza forged her thank you towards the eyes across the table of the village smithy.
Across the village green, the candlestick maker was nowhere to be seen . . . just a puff of smoke.
© 2011 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
in a small-town large state of mind
Village Smithy photo ala Wolfrage
TimeTravel lead ala TheReal OXZ
OUT OF THE RAIN
AND IN TO A HEARTY SUPPER
TIL NEXT WEEKEND'S
RETURN TO THE VILLAGE GREEN
WHERE THE VILLAGE SMITHY
MAY STEW ON MORE
THAT HE BIT OFF TO CHEW