The poet-laureate remained surprisingly stymied on the subject of wild raspberries. At his desk for the better part of an hour and a half tangled images appeared, but the words weren’t coming. A change of scene and fresh air was needed. He filled his suit pocket with jotting book, pencil, wallet and house key. He scribbled a note to his absent wife and left it under the sugar bowl, their spot for such missives. On the front porch he paused, which cobbled streets of Cambridge called today? Go right, old man, go right.
Bits of white cloud evaporated into the blue and his thoughts turned to the newly opened Marimekko store on Brattle. He moved at a steady pace as the bright sun warmed his back and the air felt full of promise. He noticed flowering forsythia and smiled with pleasure at the seasonal turn deciduous trees would soon take.
Quickening, the very word energetic, the sheen of pale-pink green along young branches and newly budded leaves. The confines of his study behind him, his step took on a decided jauntiness.
Marimekko, wondrous coloors, he’d heard. A Scandinavian Finnish astonishment. Full of movement, modern, bright fabrics, clothes for young women, and house-hold accessories, all very costly. He was keen to see its splendid offerings.
He paused near Bickford’s Cafeteria to tie his shoe lace. Finished, he looked up and saw a slender, leggy girl with a long braid over one shoulder coming towards him. Otherwise the sidewalk was empty. She reminded him of someone or something. What was it?
“Hello,” said the girl as she came upon him. He noticed her blue eyes, the irises edged in black. Pretty. Decidedly, he thought.
“How are you today?” he said, straightening up from his shoe-lace tying.
“I’m fine. Thank you. And I’m very happy.”
“Oh, why is that?”
“Because. Well, two reasons really. One is I’m headed to ballet class. The second is because I just bought special earrings. In the little shop back there.” The girl pointed behind her and to the left.
“Ah, huh,” he said.
“I’m getting my ears pierced in two weeks when I turn fifteen. I saved money for the earrings and the doctor who said he’ll pierce my ears. I’ve had to wait a very long time. But every day is one day closer. Would you like to see them? The earrings I mean?” The man momentarily forgot Marimekko and nodded kindly.
“Yes,” he said. “I’d be delighted to see your newly acquired treasure.” The girl opened her dance bag and took out a small paper bag that contained a white box. She lifted the lid for the smiling man to see. “Lovely,” he said.
“They remind me of gold coins from long ago,” said the girl.
“Yes, they do. Only in miniature.”
“Exactly.” She beamed at him. “And they’ve clasped European backings so they won’t fall out and be lost. I’ve very small earlobes,” she added as she put the lid back on the box and tucked it away. “Well, this has been really nice. I mean talking with you.”
“It has indeed. But, now I needs be off.”
“Me, too. I mustn’t be late for class. Good-bye!”
“Good-bye, young lady. Have a good dance class. And enjoy those earrings.”
“Oh, thank you. I will.” He watched as she looked both ways, zig-zagged across Brattle and disappeared down a narrow alleyway.
“Of course,” he said out loud. “Degas’ Little Dancer!” Raspberries begone. Marimekko could wait. Smitten with the real thing she leapt into his imagination. Words and images came flooding as a poem choreographed itself in his head.
She would jump and twirl and take the page with those black-edged blue eyes, long legs, and soon-to-be pierced ears. He entered Bickford’s, found an empty table and sat down. With pocket notebook and pencil in hand, he began to write.
Note: At age 14 and three quarters, the author spontaneously conversed with Robert Frost on Brattle Street minutes after she’d purchased small gold earrings with her own money, and was headed to ballet class at The Cambridge School of Ballet.
Deborah writes short stories, flash fiction and creative non-fiction in northwestern Montana. Her work has been published in Thin Air Magazine Online, and Common Ground Review among others. Her short story, "Hardened Road," was long listed in CRAFT's 2019 Short Fiction Contest. Her flash fiction,"Dancing Shoes," went live July 8th 2021 at potatosoupjournal.com
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