Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mrs. Reppeteaux

This is a short (or vignette) from a book I'm working on. Its a delivery from the 'Beach of all Things Lost' by a bird girl named Loki. I've been developing this imaginary world since I was 16, right around the time my older brother disappeared. You might say it was escapism, or wishful thinking. I just really liked the idea of going to a place where lost things (and lost people) would turn up.



A sound like miniature feet, a tiny scrabbling, came from the next room. Mrs. Reppeteaux jerked awake, startled by the commotion. She got up slowly, her back bent, her hand automatically grasping the cane by the recliner. She shuffled apprehensively toward the dim bedroom, standing in the doorway, searching for the source of the noise. She half expected to see a mouse, but it sounded bigger. Surely not a rat! She noticed the window cracked open and wondered when she had opened it, she moved to close it and saw a small parcel on the bedside table. The package, thin paper folded into a tight square, with deep red thread binding it closed, felt light in her thin hands. The old woman could see spidery writing in the same shade of scarlet on the other side and squinted to read the message : “To Mrs.Reppeteaux, 117 Widdleston Street, I found this ring and thought you might like to have it back. V.” Who was V? She opened the package and stared open mouthed at a ring she had lost nearly twenty years ago. Memories washed over her, she was a child again, walking through the dusty markets of Cairo, holding her fathers big hand, as he led her through the crowded, chaotic streets, the noise and smells swirling around her. A flash of gold caught her eye and she tugged at her father to stop. A gold ring topped with a sitting bird, lay on a square of brown cloth amid other treasures, but all she could see was that ring. Her father had laughed at her intensity and bought the ring, putting it on a fine chain for her to wear (for it was too big for her little fingers). The ring accompanied her everywhere after that warm, happy day, a lovely reminder of her winters in Egypt. She wore the ring throughout college, on her wedding day, when her children were born, everyday for forty years, until the day her husband died. She had gone into the sea, to float on the waves, to let the immensity of the ocean drown her grief. When she emerged, dripping and cold, she saw the white indention where the ring had been and felt a new hollow, empty place within her. It felt like a particularly bitter betrayal for her bird to leave when she was this weak. She had wondered about it everyday since she lost it, if anyone had found it, or if it lay on the bottom of the sea, a piece of her history caught within a forest of pink coral. She put the ring on, it fit perfectly, as naturally as if it had grown there, she looked out the window for a long time, wondering.

12 comments:

Cindy said...

Chills!...seriously, I got chills while reading that, it's beautiful...so very well written, like some of the best fantasy stories that I have read. I can feel a sense of actually being there, holding the package, etc...you and Andrew have a similar gift for bringing the reader into the story.

I love the idea of having a place for lost people to show up, too. How wonderful that you were able to create that for yourself when you so much needed it.

I'm so glad you posted that. It's not easy the first time you put your heart out there for all the world to see ;-). Looking forward to more...

Janet said...

Its has an intense ring to it! It makes a body want to read more! I think its very good.

I Am: Anna Lovely Day said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing and so very well written. I'm new to opening myself up through my blog and you have been an inspiration for me in many ways.

I love your work!

Peace.

Holly said...

I think it's wonderful. I want to hear more!

(BTW, you live in my favorite town in the whole wide world. I am 4 hours down the road, in Charleston.)

Jean said...

this is very beautiful.

here is something: I was looking at some tiny toys in the corner, near the garage, this morning when I was taking out the garbage. I said to myself, "what is it? the land of lost toys."
then I said, "Cynthia Thornton."

this is true.

ps: I have never read the land of lost toys.

Andrew Thornton said...

Good job, Cynthia! Oh, I can't wait until your story is all finished. Right now I'm reading the Dark Is Rising. Hopefully I'll finish it before the Harry Potter book comes out tomorrow night.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Cindy said...

One more...since I said I got chills, I was wondering why ;-)...and I think it's because of the connection with your brother...it feels as though all that energy that you've probably had to keep inside is being processed through your writing of this story...it's a good way to heal, and I think this is what came through to me as I read.

Patricia said...

So good! I was reading this at work
and my boss called my name so I could go over a job with him, and he startled me. Honestly I forgot where I was, I was there with Mrs. Reppeteaux! And now I'm sad because I want more and there isn't any. So please,please keep writing! All so now I want a ring with a bird on it!
Maybe I'll make one. I have an awesome bird bead from a very talented artist, I could use!!!

Andrew Thornton said...

Did you get you copy of Harry Potter yet?

katarinasmama said...

excellent...really pulled me in...I can hardly wait to read it all...

Janet said...

Cynthia have you ever heard of the Author Wanda Gag? She is a long time passed away now. Her drawings are exquisite and stories were wonderful... your little rose bud would love them. She was way ahead of her time in her Art as well as writing. She wrote "Millions of cats" you can imagine what that was about and Nothing at All" story about an Invisible dog youd love that one also "Snippy and Snappy" about 2 mice in the house just to name a few. Awww passing on tid bits here for you!

Gaea said...

Really lovely writing!