April Calendar Girl 2015: A story blooms in the west village
Close your eyes.
Call on your darkened imagination to summon the remembered sounds of a spring rain.
The first elastic drops echoing off newly minted leaves and grass, the sounds gradually growing steadier - a more saturated soundscape and rhythm. Finally building to reach crescendo of downpour. Rain coming down in sheets.
Mother nature, beckoning in a new season with an opulent display of force, washing away the grey, dead grit of winter, making the world clean and new and smelling gloriously green.
How can the world smell like a color? Smell green? Walk outside after a spring rain and your heart will know what I am talking about. Spring is a season understood by the heart, not the head...
Cecile had been sitting in the window seat in her west village brownstone all morning, with the window flung open, letting the spring rain drown out the sound of her heart, which was beating like a hummingbirds wings trapped inside the birdcage of her chest. Her eyes were closed, her bare feet and legs tucked up beneath her. A white cashmere cropped sweater and pencil skirt covered her chilled skin.
In her hands she held the envelope. Thick, heavy, important stock. Brushed cotton that had taken on the weight of the cool misty spring moisture in the air. Elegantly textured so that the fingertip dragged just slightly across it when brushing the surface. Still sealed with dark crimson wax. Almost black. The color of very dark red wine. The letter M impressed into it.
She rolled fingers over the seal again and again tracing the M. Thinking of the gold stamp that had created it and where it rested in the drawer beside the row of dark red wine colored melting wax bars and the crystal match striker. How the drawer always smelled like sulfur mixed with something earthy but crisply fragrant, like paper whites, every time it opened.
Just then the rhythm of the falling ran eased, the storm had passed. Light began to filter through the dogwood blossoms beyond the window. Cecile inhaled sharply and slid a finger beneath the envelope flap. At that exact moment a bird chirped it’s cheerful announcement of the storms end. And she snapped the wax seal, the envelope sprang open.
The bird watched quizzically from it’s dogwood blossom adorned perch as the beautiful woman in the window seat read a letter, one hand pressed over her mouth, eyes scanning the pages, anxiously at first, but then filled with something else - a powerful emotion.
The woman sprang from the window seat and snapped the window closed, sending a shower of raindrops across the small yard below, crystalizing momentarily in midair, caught in the chards of spring light cast between the brownstones.
Several minutes later Cecile emerged from the front door, a mohair swing coat hung open over the white cashmere. She locked the door, pausing a moment to turn the key over in her hand and then tucked it expertly into a potted topiary beside the door and then clipped down the stairs as she opened her umbrella, shielding herself against the last drifting spray of the storm beneath it's bright coral expanse, painted with scrolling dragons.
The bird chirped again, one stark note. This time echoed by dozens of other birds in neighboring trees. A little spring chorus coming to life as Cecile slipped away, her white and blue stripped heels clipping the dampened pavement, her umbrella bobbing in and out from beneath the canopy of blossoming cherry and dogwood trees. A Chinese dragon, swinging its head in an exultant dance.
Did the song bird wonder where she was headed? Or what the letter said? Are song birds capable of such complex musings? Perhaps not. The mysterious stirrings on the windowsill in the rainstorm will go unexplained, unexamined. The start to a story, bloomed fresh, as new and unknown as spring itself.
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