Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vintage Shopping

Maria loves vintage. She and Dan go consignment shopping every night after dinner, where Maria buys fax pearls and evening gowns lined with lace and satin, to wear to next week's outing with her fur-lined pumps and midnight-black cloche. After dinner at the diner this afternoon, Maria spotted these lovelies, and could not resist snatching them up. She wore them at her wedding, and that night Dan removed them from her ears as he passionately kissed her for the first time. He called them her dinner-earrings, for when she wore them he would sweep her away to that little diner once again, for a night of vintage shopping and bayside eating. He loved to watch her scour the shelves, her fingers hovering, poised like the arc of a conductors wand, moving to and fro, her long slender form weaving in and around the overstuffed boutique isles.

When she died Dan passed these earrings onto their youngest daughter Paula, who loved them for a while. She wore them to school plays and pinned them on her dolls and bears. She traipsed around in them by the bay, where Dan used to take her when she was a little girl. She hung them on her bedroom mirror when she was all grown up, a silent reminder of the women who fingers were everywhere in the house--who had left all these discard pieces of other peoples lives, picked up like notes out of various songs, and forced together into some kind of symphony; a sound that might have been pleasant, if it hadn't remained always in a state of unfinish.

Thus it came as no surprise to Dan that the day Paula moved to Chicago with her boyfriend Mauv that the earrings stayed fixed to her bedroom mirror, immoveable and dangling like the end of some forgotten crescendo. He left them there, until he was old and frail and ready.

Early the next morning, he took one last walk, down to the pier. He had eggs and toast with tea at the diner. He drifted awhile, ending up in the little consignment shop, wandering the isles, looking for glimpses of Maria. There was none, she was gone. Here he saw only things, discarded and old and used up, wrinkled and alone.

He left the earrings there, beside a seaside shell, under the little table lamp that he remembered Maria pausing at for countless moments.

And there they sit, waiting for someone to love them again.

These small fable stories were written by me, inspired by pieces I curated from a vintage online shop I used to run. You can read more here.

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