Friday, December 3, 2010

Key/ Library

The old key wouldn't open any lock; it was to something far more important. At least, that's what the note said that her grandmother had left for her. "But what could be more important than the will," Ella thought absentmindedly clasping the key in her fist. She sat on the floor with her legs folded under her in her grandmother's library. She loved this room more than any other in the big old house.

The built-in bookshelves lining the walls were laden with hundreds of hardcover books and trinkets from travels. Two high winged back chairs and a curvy chaise lounge, all covered in dark leather, sat before the large walnut-toned desk. All of this was in contrast to the sheer curtains and pastel paintings that decorated the walls. The carpet, easily the most luxurious item in the room, was a brilliant red with a braided golden border and intricate pattern which blossomed to the edges from the center; another trinket from a trip to India when Ella was twelve. Ella remembered when Grandmother Rosa had sat with her in front of the old dusty sewing machine and taught her how to make throw pillows. A few of the pillows still sat prominently on the chaise, their red a convincing match to the carpet. "How long ago was that?" she wondered.

Ella exhaled audibly, a shrill bird call breaking into her thoughts. Pushing her long blonde hair behind her ear, she looked at the key. It was a small thing, old fashioned, dark and slightly rusty. It reminded her of the keys to her childhood diaries, but heavier. She turned it over and over in her long fingers looking for an answer and finding none. She smiled at the tininess of the key in her long fingers. "Graceful fingers," Grandmother Rosa had told her on many occasions. "Fingers meant for a musician."

"Well Grandmother," Ella spoke into the air, "I'm not the musician you wanted me to be. I'm second rate at best. But I do love it, the feel of the keys under my fingers. Especially when no one has played them in a long while. The coolness is somehow electrifying." Having finished her sentence, she sat in silence again, the key twirling between her fingers like a fairy dancing on flower petals.

Ella didn't know how long she sat like that, only that the sun had now reached its zenith. Quietly she stood up to leave the room. Regretful that she still didn't know what the key fit into, she dropped it in her jean pocket as the grandfather clock down the hall announced that it was lunch time. She closed the door behind her, resting her forehead against it just to feel the warmth she was so accustomed to in that room. She felt only a foreign coolness and exhaled loudly.

"There you are darling! I've been looking for you all morning. Where have you been?" Her mother's voice came from behind her, a kind and concerned reprimand. One she knew she could play to her advantage, but using other's emotions in such a way was not in her personality.

Soothing herself more than her mother, Ella gently intoned, "Don't worry so much, Mama. I'm fine."

Taking her hand, Bella Anne gave her a sad knowing look. "I know it is difficult Ella dear. You and Grandmama Rosa had a very special bond." Bella Anne bit her lower lip dramatically while staring into Ella’s face. Coming up with nothing more comforting to say, she continued on as if she had never paused for words. "It's been two weeks now. It breaks my heart to still see you moping through the halls." Bella Anne started to escort her daughter downstairs to the Tea Room.

Ella opened her mouth to speak, but her mother’s voice resounded in the air first. "Your Grandmama Rosa wouldn't want to see your long face. You know she would tell you that you are a Chardon." Ella heard the way her last name rolled off her mother's tongue. The smooth sound of the French language, a truly beautiful language that no one in the family spoke fluently now that Grandmother Rosa had passed away. It was one of Ella's deep regrets. Grandmother Rosa had offered to teach her the language on many occasions, but Ella's thoughts were always elsewhere. On the smell of the peaches or the new boy at school. On her studies or the next dance.

Ella took a deep breath and gave her mother a weak smile for her efforts. Looking at the twinkle in her mother's eyes, she knew her mother was relieved to be off the hook as a caring mother. "Now, on to tea darling," Bella Anne said, a small crinkle forming by her eyes. She led the way down the remaining stairs, Ella trailing behind her.

Bella Anne reached the end of the sweeping stairs and turned to the Tea Room without glancing back. Ella walked more slowly, feeling the solidity of each step beneath her and watching her mother’s long, straight, elegant back disappear from the Grand Entrance. Her fingers traced the key in her pocket.

*** From two prompts: Swap-bot and Daily Writing Practice *** I hope to finish this some day.

1 comment:

  1. I also hope you finish this!

    Loved the description of the library, and you once again brought your characters to life.