The snow had melted from the dusting a few days ago and the battered concrete of the Baltimore sidewalk had dried from the unseasonable warmth. It was in the 60’s and it felt as though Spring had had enough of the bitter winter and was vying for an early entrance. Laloux's peony had even poked a bud from the soil. Laoux and her good friend Augen sat on the bench waiting for the bus, and although she knew the temperature would not last though the end of the week, she enjoyed it while it was here.
“Are you nervous?” Augen asked. Although he didn’t know what she had done, he knew Laloux had done something against the rules, and the counsel was not pleased. She would have to meet with them this evening.
“No.” The word drifted from her lips with such little conviction that it hardly seemed to even have been uttered.
Augen watched a bird on the opposite side of the street attempt to pry loose a morsel from a small mass fused to the asphalt. A string of cars that had been let loose by the green light, forced the sparrow onto the safety of the sidewalk for a minute, until the coast was clear once more. The bird froze for a moment and took flight. Perhaps the effort was not worth the reward.
“Torkel will hear all the counsel has to say before making a decision.” Laoux heard him, but said nothing. “You can come over for tea afterwards if you would like. I have some Malawi White tea I have been saving. I’d love to share. Perhaps even some walnut liqueur.” Augen knew Laloux had a weakness for a cordial.
“That would be nice.” She said. Again, the words hardly felt genuine. They had been strung together from secondary thoughts. Her mind was far away. She softly smiled at Augen, but the effect only made her seem more pathetic.
Augen’s bus approached and he placed his hand on her shoulder. “Oh, dear. It will be ok. I am here for you.” By the time those words registered for Laloux, Augen was boarding the bus and waving good-bye. “Call me.” He mouthed through the window as the bus pulled away. She was all alone.
She studied the mass the bird had been pecking at and realized it was a rat that had not been as luck as the bird in escaping the unforgiving tires of a car. It was flatter than a pancake. Just the way heliumps like them. Her heliump still had not hatched yet, so she left the rat where it was. She began to separate from her thoughts and pay more attention to her surroundings. A couple was screaming at each other a block away, but that sound was faint. The air felt thick. Like she was being squeezed into a smaller space and there was hardly room for her to be comfortable on that empty bench.
A few dozen cars drove by and the street was silent again. She pulled her purse closer to her. For no reason at all, she did not feel safe. The corner was empty, the steps and windows were clear - no one was around but her, but she felt like she was being watched. She spotted her bus approaching and felt relief. Perhaps she was letting the counsel meeting this evening play with her head. The heliump egg was hers even if they did not approve of the trade she had made to get it. You can’t undo a trade - can you? Her stomach sank and she flattened the fold on her dress and composed herself as the bus pulled up. It felt so comforting to be wearing her dress in January. A small reprieve, but she knew the cold would return. The ice and snow would smother her peony bud that had emerged, but perhaps it would survive once Spring had finally taken over, even though that seemed far away. For now though, it was pleasant out.
As of October 2016, I intended to use this blog as an accompaniment to my Facebook page and Instagram page. On this blog I post information and updates about my work as well as once a month I highlighted an artist whose work I like (I stopped doing this when I opened my gallery www.GalleryBlueDoor.com). As of March 2017, I began posting a monthly Story Entry with an accompanying illustration of mine. In mid-2019 I took a break from this, but it will resume.