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Calipea and the In-Flight Surprise

Peacock pendant with accents of turquoise, orange, silver and blue

Peacock pendant with accents of turquoise, orange, silver and blue

Calipea boarded the airplane, her carry-on luggage a little larger than normal.  As she struggled to make it fit in the overhead compartment, a friendly flight attendant grinned and said, “We have room further down.  I’ll handle it for you.”

“Great,” Calipea thought.  “Now I’ll have to wait for everyone else to clear out before I can walk down and get my bag.”  Her headache continued to increase in intensity, and she longed for the lights to dim and the flight to take off.  She found her window seat assignment, pulled out her eye mask, and tucked her messenger bag tight under the seat in front of her.  She rested her head back and took one last look at the snow-capped mountains to the east.  Raising her hand to the window, she pressed it gently, closed her eyes, and whispered, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome!”

The unexpected, yet familiar, voice startled Calipea enough to slam her elbow against the armrest.  As she rubbed the soreness from her now tingling funny bone, the soon-to-be West Coast resident glared at her one-time boyfriend and evidently, her flying companion.

“Brayden, what are you doing here?”

“I’m headed to California.”

She struggled to keep her voice low.  “Why?”

“Why  not?”

And that right there was one of the main reasons she’d ended their relationship.  He played emotional games more than any guy she’d ever met but could always come off seeming charming.  It annoyed the crap out of her.

“You expect me to believe,” she replied with anger brimming, “that you decide to visit California the same time I’m moving out there?”

“I didn’t say visiting.  You said visiting.”

Her head pounded with enough ferocity to make her ears throb.  She rubbed her temples and closed her eyes, hoping this was all some horrible nightmare.

“Still here,” he retorted.  “I’m exhausted, though.  Can we catch up later?”

He laid his head back, sighed, and closed his eyes.

Calipea watched him for a minute, making sure this was actually happening.  Inching closer towards the window seat, she tried to distance herself from her ex.  She glanced down at the turquoise bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother and sought strength from the wise elder.  Though Calipea always had a fascination for the city of Angels, she never swayed from the rich Native American culture that provided wisdom and spirituality.  Looking at the man asleep in the seat next to her, Calipea knew that she’d be in need of both very soon.

*Interested in purchasing the necklace and a copy of the story? Visit my Etsy site.*

Francesca’s Melody

Francesca

Francesca didn’t want to go out tonight.  She had too much work to get done at home.  There was laundry still to finish, end tables to dust, and vacuuming that needed attention.  However, tonight’s event couldn’t be missed.  Primarily because it was her wedding anniversary.  Instead of staying in her sweatpants for the evening, she’s dressed in her formal attire and rummaging through her jewelry box for the black & pink necklace that matched her outfit.

“For Heaven’s sake,” she grunted.  “It was in here yesterday!”

“Frannie, we’re going to be late.”

George, her husband of 20 years, stood in the doorway with his arms crossed over his chest.

“We’re fine,” she retorted.  “Stop worrying.  We’re never late.”

“There’s an accident on 95.  Which means we’ll have to take the Boulevard.  Adding on an additional 10 minutes to our travel.”

She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath.  “Ah, there you are!”  She grabbed hold of the shimmering necklace and held it delicately towards the light.

“You always look so beautiful when you wear that.”

No matter how frustrated she may get with him, staying mad at George was never an option.  “Will you help me?” she asked.  Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago through her for a loop, but it was George who kept her sane.  George who held her hands, even though they frequently shook.  It was George who sat beside her when they told their children the news.  George was then and is now her rock.

Though the 45 year-old mechanic’s hand were rough, his touch remained gentle and precise.  She’d fallen hard the moment she’d seen him.  Those skin-tight jeans covered in oil and reeking of gasoline added masculinity and allure from a distance.  He’d winked at her, and the modest 22 year-old child that she was blushed at bright shade of pink.  She didn’t give him her number, but he found her through a friend of a friend who quickly thereafter was no longer a friend.  She was timid, shy, and unused to pursued romantically.  Friendship formed first, then love.  Flash forward twenty years, and they’re celebrating two decades of marriage.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

Francesca turned to face her darling husband and kissed him square on the lips.  “I’m glad you never gave up on me.”  She kissed his cheek and reached for the ankle-length black trench coat on the chair.  He grabbed it and held it out for her.  As she adjusted the collar and pulled the thick brunette locks from underneath, Frannie smiled in response to the comforting support of George’s hands on her shoulders.

“No need to be nervous,” he offered.  “You’ll do great.  You always do.”

Before they walked out of the bedroom door, George kissed his wife’s left hand and told her, with a twinkle in his eye, “besides…if you can sing to me at our wedding, then you can do it in front of total strangers.”

Francesca shook her head, held the magenta-colored pendant in her hand, and laughed.

In Bloom

She entered the museum, her face still wet from crying.  This was supposed to be a joyous event – her honeymoon, in fact.  Instead of lounging by the pool and touring European castles, Millie now sought solace as far away from the scene she just encountered.

 What she saw couldn’t have been real.  That’s what she kept telling herself anyway.  However, the vision remained at the forefront of her mind, plaguing her with doubts and questions.  Everything she believed to be real now shattered in the span of just seconds. 

 “Can I help you, ma’am?” asked the lanky man with a strong Jamaican accent.

 Though her legs wobbled she remained steady and smiled.  “The hotel clerk told me about a painting here, and I wonder if you’d know which one it might be.”  It wasn’t entirely a lie, she had been wondering about the image when its existence was mentioned this morning.  “It’s a single flower, orange in color and in bloom.”

 “Ah, yes,” the gentlemen replied with excitement.  “I know just the one.”

 She chuckled at his jovial nature and followed behind her guide.  She perused the artwork adorning each wall as they ventured through corridors of white.  The vivid colors nearly jumped out of the frame, piercing her eyes and mesmerizing her senses.  As they entered the next room, Millie noticed the bronze nameplate at the top of the doorway: EN FLEUR.  “In bloom,” she murmured. 

 “Oui, Madame,” her guide responded.  “Vous parlez Francais?”

 She laughed and shook her head.  “I speak very little French.  I’m surprised I knew that much.”

 “Sometimes, Madame, we recall what we need to.”

 His reassuring smile reminded her of why she had been so adamant that they vacation here.  She just had a feeling, a very strong feeling, that it would be the perfect start to their new life together.  She didn’t understand why she felt so strongly, but Ian always agreed to her requests, so she wasn’t surprised when he relented rather easily.

 The gentlemen who led her in, swept his arm toward the opposing wall, and she followed her gaze accordingly.  It was even more beautiful than she’d imagined.  Walking as delicately as the flower depicted before her, Millie soaked in every detail.  The midnight blue background twinkled with the stars spaced across the canvas.  Despite its beauty, the setting paled in comparison to the coral-hued flower that blended with the evening sky behind it.  Directly in the center of the five-petal design, a silver moon glowed with brilliance.

 Millie could all but stare at the sight in front of her.  How can one person be responsible for so much beauty?  How did they know at the start that the finished product would turn out as expected?  She closed her eyes, rubbed her hand over her slightly bulged belly and wondered what kind of mother she was going to be.  The only other question that remained was, “Who was the father?”

Flower pendant with pearl, coral-colored beads and silver accents

Flower pendant with pearl, coral-colored beads and silver accents

Maria and the Lilac Roses

Floral pendant with colorful accents.

Floral pendant with colorful accents.

The summer breeze helped cool Maria’s temper, but the heat only aggravated her plight.  Stuck on a ferry with her grandmother and mother, she wanted desperately to be elsewhere.

Ten years have gone by since her grandfather and father drowned. She didn’t care that it was the anniversary of their death; spending the day between her mother and her father’s mother was not a situation that ever ended well.

The ferry docked, and Maria took her sweet time debarking.  Another year, another day of mourning.  She never understood why these two stubborn, smart, and pigheaded women chose to look back instead of moving forward.  She missed the guys as much as they did, but there was so much more that she could be doing today instead of going on a tour.

“Let’s go, Maria,” her mother yelled.  “We’re going to be late, and they’ll leave without us.”

“Helen, don’t shout at her,” my grandmother interjected.

Maria rolled her eyes as the women continued to bicker, sheepishly smiling at the interested passengers.  “This is going to be a long day,” she murmured and followed behind her female companions.

 ***

“And over here you’ll notice that the roses are just starting to bloom…”

Maria tuned out the monotone voice of the tour guide and pulled out her cell phone.  A full 24 hours and no text from Hank.  She wasn’t one of those clingy women who obsessed over a guy after one date, even though it was an amazing first date, or was she?  She shook the thought away and grimaced when she noticed no new messages.  She stuck the smart phone back in her pocket and politely nodded at the middle-aged guide, despite his obvious displeasure.

“He’ll show up.” Her grandmother loved to volunteer advice, and it rarely bothered Maria because she was frequently right.

“I doubt it. He hasn’t replied yet.”  Maria rested her head on her Gran’s shoulders.

“Hush, Maria,” Gran scolded.  “Must I remind you how I met your grandfather?”

Maria chuckled and though she could recite the story verbatim, she loved hearing her Gran’s version.

“Well, I’m not telling it now,” Gran whispered.  “You’ve been rude enough for all three of us.”

Gran kissed the top of Maria’s head and strolled back towards the crowd.  Maria sighed and pulled out her phone once again.  Though she intended only at checking the time, what would it hurt to see if there were any new texts?  At seeing the hourglass spin, she scoffed at her teenage-like behavior and slid the phone back in its placeholder.

Yet, in her pocket it did not land.  Onto the ground, nestled in the midst of lilac-colored roses, Maria’s entire life lay hidden.

Calipea and the Falling Snow

Peacock pendant with colorful accent beads.

Peacock pendant with colorful accent beads.

Calipea nestled in the snow, her small frame cocooned in layers of protective apparel.  As the snowflakes tickled her nose and kissed her rosy cheeks, she stared up at the beautiful dance of the falling snow.  The sunlight intermixed with the snowflakes, creating a prism of sparkling light above.

“I’m going to miss this place,” she whispered.

Tomorrow, Calipea will settle in at her new home.  A land much different from her current one.  A home where the sun’s always shining, the temperature is just perfect, and the atmosphere warm and pleasant.  She hadn’t expected to fall in love with the weather, the people, and the beach.  A lifetime of rugged mountains, frigid temperatures and snow-covered roads had been enough for her growing up.  This was her home.  She knew no different and didn’t want to.

All of her friends couldn’t wait to “escape” the chilling boundaries that enclosed them.  To get as far away as their skis could take them.  Not her.  Calipea yearned for the chilled air against her face as she raced down the snow-capped mountain.  The freedom.  The allure.  The independence.  Nothing else calmed her like strapping on a pair of skis and hitting the slopes.  The power in her hands, she zipped passed trees and sped towards her destination.

At thirty-three years of age, this lifelong snow bunny watched the flakes trickle through her fingers and readied herself to say goodbye.  She brushed off the snow from her thermal jacket, wrapped the knit scarf tight around her neck, and headed back to the cabin.  She still had plenty of packing to do before tonight’s Bon Voyage bonfire.  As sure as she was that she’d get homesick for this winter wonderland, she also knew that if she didn’t move to California now then she never would.