#118 Here is What Happened

by Jennifer Messner

When the old woman’s spirit rose up from the scatter of ashes and petals, no one was surprised. It was as if they always knew she would, for she had lived so long by the water that she was the water, and the water was her. So when they offered her to the river for the last time, you might say they were hoping for some magic.

They thought they saw her first in a bird in tall grass. One neighbor heard her next in the rattle of hollow reeds. Another was certain she smelt her in the perfume of beach roses. They soon found her roaming the yards with the wandering dogs, and they felt she was content. But then she took to the beach, breaking mussel shells and leaving the razor edges to cut their feet. Just making sure we’re paying attention, they realized. So they did.

Before long, she came into their homes, began watching over them from amidst the tangled vines of their chintz wallpaper, blessing their tea as they poured it into matching china. It is the old woman who keeps the clocks’ chimes and whose stories from before echo in the waves lapping below their windows at night.

Here is what happened. When she alit, lifted, on wind, she whispered to them and they whispered back. Enchanted words, the best they knew, a prayer on their tongues melting like sugar on a summer day.


Deb said...

Hi Jennifer,

Lovely prose here, but it threw me toward the end when you say "Here is what happened," as everything up to that sentence is also telling us what happened. I would just remove that sentence. I really liked "...she had lived so long by the water that she was the water,.." Nice.

bookspersonally said...

Thanks so much for the kind words & constructive feedback - appreciated!

Tricia S. said...

I love it when a story keeps you thinking longer after, well done!

Deb Smythe said...

Beautiful writing. Nice job of using the 5 senses to bring the details to life.

Flutterby said...

Lovely writing!