In a box at the flea market,
Dusty and forgotten,
Memories slept closely to one another while
silently dreaming of another place and time.
Peeked at when the heart ached, or feelings surged.
Those secrets, those cherished bits of papers, the letters from someone she held close.
Memories pinned of love.
Years ago, when I was around nineteen years old, I had the opportunity to care of an elderly woman who was housebound.
A beautiful woman who had a house stuffed with beautiful old things. Nevertheless, her curtains were closed and her stacks of fine dishes stored in the basement.
The summer I took care of her, her housekeeper went away for a three month holiday, I entered a wonder world of someone's life that would have a grand effect on my sensitivities. As soon as I walked in Rose told me, while barely looking up from her soap opera, "I have my meals served on a tray right here in front of the TV. Here is my check book and car keys, buy whatever you want to make for my meals, charge it to my account."
I looked around at her lovely old home, "Why?"
She said, "Why, What?"
"Why take your meals in front of the TV?" I asked, "Your home is beautiful!"
She shrugged, "It is easier."
I frowned, "For you or for me?"
She sadly replied, "For you since I do not move very well."
As I was nineteen full of vinegar and honey I marched on with my desire to bring her home alive, "We will have lunch on the terrace. So you can use that walker... come on, I'll help you get up, let's give it a try."
Rose grump-ed, "Oh no! It is okay right here in front of the TV. I don't want to bother you."
"If you want lunch you will have to meet me on the terrace." With that I turned and walked towards the kitchen to prepare the meal.
The kitchen! Had floor to ceiling cupboards, a breakfast nook, and a basement FULL OF LOVELY THINGS! I ran out to the living room, nearly hyperventilated with excitement, "Rose, Oh my God, your home is a treasure box! We will have breakfast tomorrow in the breakfast nook, lunch everyday outside in the garden or on the terrace, and dinner in the dining room. Can I use any of the dishes you have? And the linens can I use them? And the teacups too? Can we have tea too? And, why do you have the curtains closed?"
I am afraid Rose didn't know what to do with a girl like me.
She moaned though I saw her hidden smile, "Use whatever you like. The curtains are closed because the windows are dirty, and I don't want to move to eat my lunch."
"I'll wash the windows," I threw the curtains opened, "And we are NOT eating in front of the TV even if I have to drag you to the dining room to prevent it, or throw the TV out."
Rose's eyes opened wide. Then she laughed out loud.
I drove her car.
Went to the grocery store everyday.
Bought delicious treats, and made meals for Queen Rose.
We became fast friends.
She wrote poetry.
Her cupboards were a treasure chest.
Tea was served in sweet teacups.
Meals on different china plates each day.
I stuffed the sugar bowls with sugar cubes, and the cookie jars with my mother's cookies, and her silver trays with cakes.
Rose sparkled, so did the windows... and her garden provided flowers galore for every inch of her home.
I loved every day with Rose. Her home was a wonderland.
Rose was a storyteller. She had lived a beautiful life yet was left crippled by an infected mosquito that left her tongue hanging out which made it difficult for her to talk... though once she got to know you she never let your ear grow cold.
One day she told me she had a secret love letter from a boyfriend who had died.
"I never could throw them away." She said, then continued, "If you go to bedroom, in the closet, there is a trunk, in the trunk there is a box... can you bring it to me?"
In the box there was a letter.
Love poured out as she held it in her hands, "I haven't held it in years..." she cried.
There are some things that tell a story better than words. Rose did not have to tell me why, who, how or when her tears spoke the volume that only a heart can hear.
And so it was that I put the letter back in the box, back in the truck in the closet of her bedroom.
Fast forward ten years later, my wedding day, I went to visit Rose with my newly wed husband Yann. A few months later I was in France when I received the news that Rose died. The first thing I remembered was her love letter tucked away in her bedroom closet. I do not know believe anyone knew about it...
In a box at a flea market,
Dusty and forgotten.
Memories sleep closely to one another while
silently dreaming of another place and time.