Thursday, 20 June 2013

Reflections

Marie Fullerton

Reflections

Hot Chocolate with Cream and Marshmallows



The skies opened and I ran into the museum for shelter from the sudden downpour.
               I glanced around furtively as I hunted through my pockets with wet hands in search of a tissue. I hoped that anyone watching me would not think it was anything more than just the rain that ran the length of my nose, gathered into a huge diamond droplet on the tip and dripped down the front of my jacket.
               The familiar wax polish smell in the musty warmth of the entrance hall welcomed me. As a child, I’d spent many an hour exploring here during the long school holidays, a good few years ago now. My best friend and I had laughed as we flirted with the boys from the grammar school, hiding in corners and stifling giggles behind our hands; made up stories about the crowns, gowns and robes that how hung lifeless in dusty corners. We’d held hands and cried over broken relationships in the darkened quiet seats as teenagers and spent hours at the study tables trying to put together essays that were different enough to look as though we hadn’t worked together while at college. Just before Anna had moved abroad with her family we’d both bought the same necklace from the souvenir shop and sworn never to take them off as a token of our friendship. Then, in spite of the promise to keep in touch no matter what,
we’d lost contact with each other as the years passed. Ah, the memories that clung tightly to that smell.

It looked like the rain wasn’t going to ease off for I while and I decided to walk round before going upstairs for a coffee in the café. Although the smell hadn’t changed, the exhibits had. A dinosaur exhibition that had housed rows of bones and artefacts had grown and now also had screens that allowed me to see the creatures they came from at the touch of a button. History documentaries played on monitors close to each exhibit. I remembered the dinosaur story we had written one afternoon for a project on evolution our first year in senior school. The ammonite fossil caught my eye; captured in what looked like an old granite kerbstone, the curled shell nestled tightly inside a quartz casing. More tiny pieces of quartz were glistening between the folds and I smiled as I thought how much like life was this ancient creature; how much like my life!

I walked up to the café, bought myself a cream cake and a latte coffee and sat by the window looking down onto the street below. Rivulets of water joined together as they ran races to the frame at the bottom of the window. I reflected on the ammonite. Such a beautiful shell incarcerated in a coffin of grey stone, taunted by the sparkling of reflected light on its prison walls. I sighed and looked outside. Large droplets of rain clung to the window, little images of people in the street below drifted through each drop. The vibrant, magnified colours of their clothing faded away to the grey of the pavement once they had passed and left me with just my broken reflection. I wondered where the years had gone, where Anna was now, if she still thought of me. I sipped my coffee.
               ‘Lorna?’ A voice broke into my daydreams. ‘Lorna, I don’t believe this, it
is you.’
               ‘Anna?’ My heart leapt. It couldn’t be, could it?
               ‘Lorna, have you any idea how I have missed you?’
               As I stood up her arms embraced me and I held her tight.
               ‘Oh Anna!’
               I was speechlessly gazing into her eyes as she brushed my face with her
thumb.
               ‘You old silly, I knew we would find each other again. I just moved back
and…’ She paused for a second. ‘It’s funny; I sort of knew I would find you here.’
               She removed her coat, shook it and hung it on the back of a chair. I watched her graceful movements; she hadn't changed a bit.
               ‘I’ll get you a drink,’ I said, ‘hot chocolate with cream and
marshmallows?’
               ‘You remembered!’
               She smiled and pulled the damp, silk scarf from around her neck. A tiny silver ammonite pendant nestled between her breasts.
               ‘I think we both did, didn’t we?’
               She laughed as she caught my arm before I left the table and pulled me toward her. Slowly she undid the top button of my blouse, ran her finger down the chain and touched my pendant. Our eyes met.              
               ‘Did you put it on especially?’
               I kissed her hand. How could I have known, how could she? I smiled at her and hugged her again.
               ‘No Anna, I never took it off.’

About the Author
Marie Fullerton is a retired lecturer, she has eight grown up children and she has wanted to be a writer forever.  She also started painting twenty-one years ago and is completely self-taught. At fifty she was proud of her 2.1 BA degree for English language, literary history and creative writing at UCC and has since had several poems published in anthologies and short stories in E-zines. She is currently working on two novels. Although she has sold many paintings she has only recently tried her hand at illustrating. You can see her artwork on her Facebook page using the following link here: LINK

                     http://mariesimaginings.blogspot.com/

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