Tag Archive | short stories

Clarisa’s Brave Entrance

Rainbow Agate stone pendant with accents of Rainbow Jasper and pink pearl beads.

Rainbow Agate stone pendant with accents of Rainbow Jasper and pink pearl beads.

Her nerves shook both her hands and her confidence, yet Clarisa smiled at the woman in the reflection. Time hadn’t been kind to her – you need only look at the wrinkles, bags under her eyes, and expanding mid-section to see the result – yet she still saw a beautiful woman reflected in the image before her.

Opening night always meant excitement, jitters, and anticipation even when she wasn’t the one on stage. Tonight, she would cheer on her former colleagues with as much joy as she could muster. Oh, how she had hoped to be a part of it all. This could have been her opportunity to return to the stage that she loved so well. She had rehearsed her monologues again and again, studied up on the role for which she was auditioning, and walked into the casting office with her head held high.

“‘Twas not to be”, she supposed after much contemplation. Yet it didn’t take away the sting every time she saw another positive critique about the show that could’ve catapulted her back on top. She’d made her choice, left a successful career in order to raise her children away from the hustle and bustle of the city. She’d expected a welcome return once she’d decided to come home, but too much time had gone by. Friends of old retired to make way for fresh faces and ideas. She didn’t have a connection left to introduce her to a public that wasn’t waiting.

She’d chosen a burgundy dress that showed off her best feature – tall, muscular legs – and accented it with a caramel-colored cashmere scarf that had been a gift from her former mentor. She wrapped the gift around her bare shoulders and let the frayed edges accentuate her hips. She clasped the Rainbow Agate stone pendant that hung around her neck and closed her eyes. “Please let tonight be a new start.”

Clarisa heard her husband call for her and knew she was ready to make an entrance.


Bridget: Eire She Goes

Bridget Bridget sat on the bench and cried.  Not three hours earlier, she waved goodbye to her parents and grandparents as the ship left County Cork.  She didn’t know what to expect when she arrived in America.  Had no clue whether the photos her aunt and uncle sent were accurate representations.  She was going to care for her young cousins, be their nurse and caretaker.  Her aunt recently got involved in societal organizations while her uncle worked very long hours.  

It didn’t take much convincing for her parents to agree to their daughter emigrating to America.  In fact, they’d have one less mouth to feed, body to clothe, and person to house.  She’d miss them and they her, but this was best for all involved.  Didn’t mean she wasn’t terrified of the choice she’d made.  As she sat alone on the massive ship and stared out at the water, she wondered if she’d chosen correctly.  

“Bridget Keily.”  

The brash male voice stumbled over a last name that was common in Ireland.  It will take some getting used to, she realized.  She clutched tight to her woven satchel and walked toward the stairway.   

“It’s Kelly,” she explained.  

“What?” the man replied, clearly uninterested.  

“Kelly.  It’s pronounce Kell-ey.  Not Keel-ey.”  

He merely looked at her over the rim of his glasses and jotted down a note on his pad of paper.  “This way,” he said.  

Bridget noticed every detail of the damp, cramped stairwell.  Dark and dreary, the light faded more and more with every descent.  The wooden stairs creaked and the boat swayed, causing the young emigrant to grab hold of the cold, metal banister.  

“In here,” he instructed.  He pointed towards a stark, white room filled with cots and medical equipment.  “Hand the woman at the door this,” he said as he put a folded paper in her hand.  “Then, wait your turn until the doctor calls for you.  When you’re done, someone will direct you where to find your luggage and then your room.  Safe travels.”  

And with that he was gone, as distant a sight as the homeland now so far away.  Bridget sensed the emotions building inside of her and shook them away.  She was seventeen years old.  Old enough to get married, according to her grandmother.  Definitely old enough to travel by herself to an unknown land.  “You’re pretty enough,” her grandmother told her before she left.  “You’ll marry someone decent.  Just don’t ruin your reputation before then.”

 Bridget laughed at her grandmother’s “advice”.   “Marry someone decent,” she repeated with a shake of her head.  She walked towards the door and slammed right into a handsome doctor.



Patrice’s Garden

Cameo pendant with accents of ivory, maroon, and chocolate brown.

Cameo pendant with accents of ivory, maroon, and chocolate-brown.

Patrice loved this garden more than any other location. That includes the library and music room.

Living in a household full of staff, butlers, and maids, Patrice didn’t know quite where she fit.  It never felt right to her, this idea that someone else made her bed, cooked her meals, and drove her anywhere she needed to go.  Her privacy was nearly nonexistent, except for when she went to the garden.

Seated on the cold, stone bench, she gazed out across the landscape.  Her mother lived just over that hill, yet they haven’t seen one another in years.  “You have a better chance if you reside with your grandparents,” her mother reasoned.  “You are our oldest, the one who stands to gain entrance into society.  Listen to all that your grandmother has to teach you.”  She can still recall the sorrow in her mother’s voice when they said good-bye.

Four years hence and Patrice’s cotillion nears.  The gown selected, her lessons complete, and her independence stifled, the fifteen year-old sat at the cusp of a new beginning.  Suitors would be sought while her life was planned for her.  She could only hope that her new home, once married, would have a garden as stunning as this one.

“Is it not time for you to be getting prepared?”

Patrice turned in response to the inquiry and smiled as Augustus walked towards her.

“My presence is not required until after noon,” she replied.  Wanting desperately to maintain composure in his company, Patrice linked her fingers and rested them on her lap.

“May I,” he asked, pointing to the empty space next to her.

She nodded and attempted to quell her nervousness.  “You are here much earlier than expected,” she finally managed to squeak out.

“My father wanted to speak with yours before the other guests arrived.  Mother was quite exhausted from our travels, an early rest before the evening’s festivities a necessity.

“Is she well,” Patrice inquired, her voice brimming with concern.

“Simply tired.”

Patrice couldn’t tell whether her nerves were due to the impending celebration or in response to the boy she loved seated beside her.  She stared at the abundance of daisies off in the distance and yearned in that moment to be but a flower.  To simply exist, catch the sun’s rays, and drink in every second.  To not have the responsibilities or expectations that awaited her.

“Patrice, are you well?  Your hands are shaking.”

His hand touched hers but only briefly, yet it was enough to send waves of emotion through her body.  If she lingered any longer, she would not be able to complete the task expected of her tonight.  She had to face what was to come, for there was no other solution.

“I must go,” she spoke with haste.  She stood, bowed, and continued,  “I hope you enjoy yourself this evening, Augustus.”

Before he could reply, she left the garden and returned to the life that held everything but that which she desired – marriage to the boy that was promised to another.