College of the Crones- cont.

tonic

Chapter One- The Funeral- Part 3

But the prince was overwhelmingly handsome, charming in speech, and strong in will, and none of the women who joined his court could resist him. Mikel had shielded her, his importance as a blacksmith affording him a few privileges.  But now she was exposed, husbandless. Their ruler could take her as an act of charity, sparing her destruction.

Some of the wives came forward to offer their condolences and admire her fine mourning clothes. Mikel would have loved this dress. It contrasts perfectly with my pale skin and pink lips. Her neighbor Madelin approached her with hugs and kisses, wishing her good fortune in seeking her next mate. Adel, already a veteran of six marriages, tried to introduce her to a potential suitor, one of her distant relatives. How can they be so cold? My dearest friend and husband is suddenly gone, and they choose this moment, his memorial, to begin the matchmaking. 

Mikel was Erin’s first husband. Will I ever bond with another mate only to lose him as well? He carried my heart away with him that night. I have nothing left for another.  In a culture where arranged marriages and third and fourth husbands were the norm, it seemed love was a luxury few women enjoyed. But for Erin, life would forever be divided into two parts: life with Mikel and life without him. Her loss was a fortress surrounding her, separating her from the kindness of others. She refused to be comforted, preferring instead to remain captive in sorrow.

After crone singers opened with a solemn song, the mayor began the memorial, saying many fine things about her husband. He praised their blacksmith’s every accomplishment, from the shoeing of the prince’s famous steeds to the construction of the elegant village clock. After he was finished, the prince’s representative delivered a stirring eulogy praising the marvelous weapons Mikel had forged. Erin’s step-father and sister sat dabbing their eyes and sniffing. Her mother’s striking features were dry, her pale green eyes narrowed slightly as her gaze fell on her eldest daughter. Erin sat next to but far apart from them, trying not to get caught up in their grief, having too much of it herself to take on more.

Next was Old Tong, who shared his memories of training Mikel as his apprentice. Old Tong had been a precise craftsman in his day, concerned with every detail, from heating the forge to shaping a nail. This eye for detail stamped into young Mikel as well, as the elder blacksmith spent many hours insisting that they adopt standards of excellence. “Hot forge, cool head, steady hand, stout heart,” he’d always said. Mikel was the finest student he had ever trained.

Erin listened to her husband’s teacher, brimming with pride.  But her face and body betrayed no emotion at all. She knew if she allowed any feelings to show she would lose all control. It was hard enough to keep the knives quiet in her heart without allowing tears to seep through. She had not cried since she was a young girl. Crying made her eyes look puffy. She kept her eyes on her lace gloves. They seemed to need constant adjustment.

After all the words were shared, songs sung, tears wept, and family members hugged, the crones took the children home to bed while the rest headed over to the pub. After assuring her sister that she would soon join them, Erin allowed herself to relax in the empty room. As difficult as it was to attend her husband’s memorial, somehow some of the crushing weight was gone.

 

 

College of the Crones-cont.

 

tonic

Chapter One- The Funeral- Part 2

Even though his body was never found, Mikel was declared dead, in accordance with the law in Beautiful. Because of her husband’s great service to their village, the mayor wanted to make sure the blacksmith had a proper memorial. It would also serve as the public declaration that Erin’s period of mourning was over and the time for courting had begun.

Every morning she checked her face in the mirror for wrinkles. Although she had celebrated only eighteen birthdays, she had reason to worry. The small brown bottle was empty on her dressing table, reminding her that time was running out for her beauty.

The tonic.

Erin remembered the first time she saw the small brown bottle sitting on her mother’s dressing table, right next to a silver hand mirror. She had picked it up and tried to pry out the cork when her mother entered the bedchamber and quickly rescued it from her three–year-old hands.

“No! Bad girl!” she had cried in panic. “Don’t play with Mother’s things!” Her mother was wide-eyed and flushed of cheek, still beautiful but also frightening enough to make Erin cry. She was too young to understand the bottle’s importance. Only years later, when she was sent to finishing school, did she realize the tonic’s value.

Her training told her she needed to remarry so that she could maintain access to the tonic. The alterative, turning into a hunched over, shriveled up crone was unthinkable. The only cure was the prince’s tonic, which he was willing to sell to husbands at a high price. But Erin knew that a new husband and beauty tonic that came with him would never cover the ugly pain in her heart.

Was it the thought of marrying someone else, or was it the prince who frightened her? She remembered his eyes measuring her every time they attended the prince’s festivities. The prince presided over every birthday and ball and when giving his blessing, if he was taken with the presumed bride, it was his right–and one he exercised from time to time–to take the woman for himself. Their husbands could not reclaim them, but instead must choose a replacement wife.

The prince could command the hand of any woman he chose, even one with a family. If he took a woman with children, she wouldn’t see her children again until they were wives themselves, visiting the castle for parties. To be at the whim of the prince was part of the price the citizens paid for the tonic.

Some were more willing than others.

College of the Crones- revised

tonic

Chapter One- Funeral Part 1

Erin looked over her shoulder, shivering at the icy cloud of death surrounding the somber villagers as they silently filed into the council chamber. She smoothed down her long black dress elegantly trimmed with black crocheted lace and pearl buttons. Her ageless face was hidden behind a veil that cascaded over the brim of a black feather-trimmed hat. She adjusted the hat so that it sat correctly on top of her dark braided hair.  Then she pressed her dress smartly down over her knees and crossed her hands in her lap to ensure no one could see them shaking.

I can’t believe I’m here. She closed her eyes with a sigh, and then opened them expecting to see her husband enter the room, rushing over to comfort her. I can’t believe he’s really gone. When Mikel had first disappeared, she clung to the hope that he would be found somewhere in the hills, injured but still alive. She left early that night from the prince’s ball, with some of their friends. Mikel told her he needed to finish up some business at the castle and would return the next day. He had kissed her hastily, neither imagining this would be their last kiss.

But it was their last kiss, as well as their last embrace, last glance, last smile together. Even now she dared not gaze at his face in her memories. The sharp knives of loss waited in ambush. Instead she took a deep breath and smoothed her dress again. She must remain poised and beautiful, despite her grief. After a few moments, her discipline failed, and her mind returned to that day.

Frantically she had appealed to the prince concerning her husband. The prince and his agents swore they sent Mikel home the next morning on one of the royal stable’s finest horses, but the animal returned to the castle riderless that evening. In response to Erin’s plea, their ruler had sent out his best trackers to scour the surrounding countryside.

No trace of her husband was ever found.

Six months later, she realized that her identity had disappeared on that horse as well. After a childhood spent learning how to become “Mikel the blacksmith’s beautiful wife,” she wasn’t sure who she was supposed to be now. Her husband was different from most of the men in Beautiful. He truly loved her for who she was, regardless of her beauty. Memories of him forced their way to the front of her mind: dancing at her sixteenth birthday ball, riding away in their wedding carriage a few months later, cuddling together by the fire, whispering dreams to each other… The searing pain stabbed her without mercy. Without Mikel, she was a delicate crystal goblet after a party. Stunning but empty.

 

 

Plain Old Lucy- Scene Five

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Back at O’Connell’s Pub in New York. The buyers are at the bar.

CANDY

Here we are, one month later. Lucy, I’m so glad you changed your mind about coming here. Of course, if you want to go somewhere else, we can. But this place is fabulous!

LUCY

It’s okay, guys. You don’t always have to choose the place I want to go to. There’s just something about it. It’s old and a little creepy.

SUSIE

Creepy or not, this pub has been good luck for you, girl. Ever since we came here  last month, your business has been through the roof! Not to mention all your orders come in on time. You even designed 2 new styles of jeans that were approved with only one fitting! You’re golden now.

CANDY

All my vendor friends are talking about you, Lucy. All the men want to take you out and all the women want to look like you.

LUCY

Thanks, guys, but we’re all a team. And I can’t really say I’ve had good luck today. When I called the office, Sean didn’t answer. It isn’t like him to be out of the office when we are all in New York.

DAVID

(To Lucy) Cheer up, Lucy. I know you’re used to working with that boy, but you’re going to get a real executive assistant when we get back. You’ll need one. (To their group)Now that we’re all here, I want to make an announcement. Our business at Lucky 17 has grown considerably this past year. We’ve opened 10 new stores on the west coast. I’m going to need some help with those stores. Starting now, Lucy will be my lead buyer and Junior Vice President of Lucky 17.

LUCY

Wow! David, I don’t know even know how to thank you. Didn’t see that coming. Umm, I need to speak with you, privately. You may have to rethink your decision.

 

DAVID

You’re scaring me! Did Next to the Beach call you in for an interview? I’ll double whatever they’re offering you. But I’d love to talk to you privately. I have another proposal for you.

Just then, Mr. Green enters the bar. He sits down at the booth. The bartender brings him a beer.

LUCY

(looking determined, to David) I’ve to speak with someone first.

She walks over to Mr. Green.

LUCY

I told you already. You can take the glamour back. I don’t need your beauty! I should have listened to my assistant a long time ago. Now I only have one year left. If that’s all I have, I want to make the most of it. Even without the glamour.

MR. GREEN

Well, lassie, that’s why I’m here. I’ve accepted your alternate form of payment, and I’m willing to take back your glamour.

LUCY

Really? I don’t have to give you my life?

  1. GREEN

Not any more.  Come sit with me while I undo the magic.

Lucy sits down at the booth. Mr. Green reaches over to the top of her head and yanks an invisible sheet off her.

LUCY

Thank you so much, Mr. Green. Even though the glamour made everyone notice me, I still knew it was fake. Susie and Candy don’t really respect me. David only spent time with me because of the enchantment. I admit it was fun for a while. Now that I only have a short time left, I want to find someone who likes the real me, even if I am plain.

MR. GREEN

(Chuckling) Humans! Think they see everything and they’re so blind! Pity you did not see him while he worked by your side. It’s hard to believe that your faery friend would stand up for a human. He must have cared deeply for you.

LUCY

(Shocked) It was Sean who paid for me

MR. GREEN

Oh, he paid all right. He volunteered to pay your debt with 100 years of service, effective immediately. The way he looked when he realized he was giving up being with you for the last year of your life. Such sacrifice for a faery? Unheard of, at least in the past century. Makes the deal even sweeter.

LUCY

(Almost to herself) He took my place?

MR, GREEN

Well, miss, I must be going. Fare thee well.

Lucy walks over to the bar. She’s still in shock. Everyone ignores her. Her phone rings, and she picks it up.

LUCY

Hello? Yes, this is Lucy Mason. (She listens) What do you mean there’s been an error in processing my lab work? (She listens) Of all the incompetence! (Listens) Of course I’m relieved. Wouldn’t you be? (She hangs up)

(To David) David, the doctor’s office called. There was a mix-up with my blood samples! I’m not sick, just a vitamin deficiency! I’m going to live!

DAVID

(Ignoring her) Candy, let’s toast to your great business! One of these days, I’m going to promote you to lead buyer. (Finally realizing Lucy is talking to him)

Lucy, what did you need?

LUCY

Never mind. (To herself) It was all fake. Oh well, everything is back to normal.

(To herself and audience) I can’t believe you did it, Sean. How could I not see you, listening to me and caring about me- just the way I really was. One hundred years is a very expensive price to pay. (She pauses.) But I think I can do it now. It’s the only way to live a real life. From now on, I’ll be myself, plain old Lucy.

Plain Old Lucy- Scene Four

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Back in the buying offices one week after the New York trip. Susie, Candy, and David are on their phones. Sean is inputting orders on his computer.

Lucy walks in. She looks upset.

LUCY

(Putting his call on hold immediately) Lucy, already back from your doctor appointment? Sean’s got your orders under control. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? After your successful week in New York, you probably need to relax.

LUCY

(To herself) Leave early, coming  out of David’s mouth? This whole thing is getting scary. (To David) Thanks, David. I just have to take care of few things. After that, maybe I’ll leave early.

CANDY

(Looking over the partition.) Hi, Lucy! That sweater you’re wearing is fabulous! Did you get it in New York?

LUCY

(Listlessly) It’s a sample they gave me at Hot Jeans.

SUSIE

Hot Jeans giving away their samples? That’s a first. You’ve excellent taste! I didn’t see that style when I was there. Can I write down the style number and call Anna about it?

LUCY

(With a sigh) Sure, Susie. (She goes over to Susie’s cubicle, and Susie looks inside her back neckline.)

Then Lucy sits down in her cubicle. She looks overwhelmed. Slowly she turns on her computer and takes a few papers out of a tray on her desk.

SEAN

(Looking up from his computer, he sees her distress, and turns his chair toward her) What happened?

LUCY

(Trying not to cry) Sean, I don’t know what I’m going to do. How could this be happening now- right when my life is finally going great!

SEAN

(Goes over and gives her a hug) You were fine yesterday- what happened at your doctor appointment?

LUCY

I was just feeling tired. I thought all the attention I was getting was wearing me down, and I caught a bug or something.

SEAN

A lot of attention! You’re the new superstar! Ever since your last New York trip, you and David have been working together nonstop. For a whole week, everyone in the office is following you around like you’re the Queen of England. There is something different about you. What is this all about?

LUCY

It’s so strange that it doesn’t affect you. You’re still my best friend. It’s funny. When they started fawning all over me in the office, I was embarrassed to tell you the reason why. But now it’s too late, too late even for shame.

SEAN

Lucy, what do you mean about “too late?” Tell me what happened in New York. You know you can tell me anything.

LUCY

I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him. Something about him was creepy, but he was so polite, and somehow knew a lot about me. This is really Mr. Green’s fault.

SEAN

(Suspiciously) Mr. Green- what did he look like?

LUCY

It’s funny- I’m usually so good with faces, but I can’t remember. I know he had a black hat, and wore a dark green wool coat. He saw me at O’Connell’s. He called me over to his table, and told me he could get me noticed by everyone. Even David.  I never told anyone my feelings for David.

SEAN

Oh no. Lucy, tell me you didn’t make a deal with this rascal!

LUCY

He seemed like he really cared about my situation. He didn’t even want my money.

SEAN

(Disgusted) Of course he didn’t want your money.

LUCY

How did you know? Do you know this Mr. Green?

SEAN

I know enough to know that “Green” is not his true name! Always meddling with mortals. Can’t mind his own business. Running around stirring up mischief.

LUCY

Sean- what are you talking about?

SEAN

Lucy, I’ve worked by your side for four years. I came here to have a normal life. I would never hurt you.  But making deals with our kind is highly dangerous. Tell me you didn’t promise him anything.

LUCY

(Standing up and moving away from him) What “kind” Sean? I don’t understand.

SEAN

(Sighs) Well, we’re not supposed to talk about it. We walk around in the human world every day, blending in. But there are other kinds of beings than just humans, Lucy. My kind, my kindred, humans call them faeries.

LUCY

Seriously? I’ve unknowingly worked next to a faery for years without noticing it? If this is a prank, Sean, I am not amused.

SEAN

Please, Lucy, let it be our secret. I just wanted you to know that I understand what you’re dealing with. It sounds like he sold you a glamour. I smelled magic, but there’s always residual magic in New York, so I just thought it rubbed off on you when you were there.

(He takes Lucy by the shoulders and looks into her eyes) What did you promise Mr. Green?

LUCY

(Dazed and fighting back tears) That’s the problem, Sean. I promised him one year of my life in exchange for glamour. I thought at the time, “What’s one year out of my whole life?”

(She sits back down in her chair and starts to chuckle to herself) It’s a joke really, a horrible terrible joke.

(She looks up at Sean) When I went to the doctor this morning, they ran some tests, and then the doctor pulled me immediately into his private office. I’ve got some rare blood disease, so rare there’s not even a name for it yet.

SEAN

(Reaches over to hug her) Lucy, I’m so sorry. This is what I dread the most about having human friends.

LUCY

The doctor thinks I only have one year left at the most. There is no treatment for it. Will Mr. Green really take away the last year I have?

SEAN

There are certain rules in my world, and they’re never broken. Mr. Green will collect on your debt to him.

(David walks by Lucy’s cubicle)

DAVID

Lucy, are you still here? Please go home. You look exhausted.

LUCY

(Wiping her face quickly) I’m leaving in a few minutes. Thanks for the time, David.

 (Lucy’s cell phone rings. She answers it.)

LUCY

Hello. (She listens.) Mr. Green, how did you get this number? (She listens) I see. But things have changed. You need to take your glamour back. (She listens.) You didn’t say anything about “no returns.” I’ve had some horrible news. (She listens.) How did you know? Well, I don’t even want to know the answer to that. (She listens.) I’m not giving you my last year, do you hear me? It’s my last year- it belongs to me! (She hangs up and starts crying.)

SEAN

(Looking serious and determined) Lucy, calm down. I want you to listen to me. You don’t deserve this. I’ll fix this. Trust me, okay?

LUCY

What can you do? He said the deal was unbreakable.

SEAN

He doesn’t know you have a faery friend. Our rules may be unbreakable, but there is always a way for a faery to bend them backwards.

(Fade to black)

Plain Old Lucy- A Modern Faery Tale

nc-food-and-beverage-pub  Here is the first scene from my one act play about deals with faeries:

Scene 1

Setting: the buying offices of Lucky 17. Grey cubicles, open side to the audience, separate the buyers from each other, but when they stand up, they can see each other. When the characters are talking to each other, they are standing up, and when they are talking to themselves and the audience they sit down. Inside the cubicles, there are desks, chairs, and computers. Each cubicle also has a rolling rack with samples of clothing on it, except Candy, who has purses and belts hanging on hers.

The scene opens with all the buyers in place, all on their phones. From stage right to stage left you have Candy, Susie, Lucy and Sean, and then David. David’s desk is fancier than the others.

SUSIE

(On the phone) I don’t care if there was a labor uprising, the boat sunk in the harbor, and there was no paperwork at the dock for customs! Those tees better be in my warehouse by tomorrow morning at 7 am or the entire three orders are cancelled! (She listens for a reply) And stop that whimpering! I’m running a business, not a support group! (She slams down the phone)

CANDY

(On the phone) You’re so funny, Angie! I want to place a reorder on those earrings. I sold them out in the first week. Of course, that’s not surprising- I told you they would be hot! (She listens) You can ship them today? That’s so cool! (She listens) Of course I’d LOVE to see that new musical when we are in New York this Friday. I thought no one could get tickets. (She listens) Front row center- how awesome! See you Friday then, bye bye honey. (She hangs up, jumps up and does a happy dance)

(To Susie, standing up looking over the cubicle) Guess what, Susie?

SUSIE

(Standing up to look over the cubicle, with a sigh) What now, Candy? You dyed your poodle purple again?

CANDY

No, it’s better than that! Angie from Angie’s Things is taking me to see that new musical             when we’re in New York this week! Isn’t that crazy?

SUSIE

Personally, anyone who would choose to associate with you in public would have to be crazy.

CANDY

You’re just a crabby kitty because your catalog order is late.

SUSIE

It’s not my fault! Those importers we use are idiots! They can’t even keep their workers under control for one important order. I’m never buying anything from them again.

LUCY

(Standing up to join their conversation) Maybe you should check into the source I found   for jeans. I know they have a knit line that seems well priced.

(They totally ignore her and go back to work)

CANDY

Hey Susie, maybe you should check out the source Lucy found for jeans. They also have   a knit line that looks cute and well-priced.

LUCY

(Sits down in frustration) That’s what I just said. They never listen to me.

SEAN

Ignore them, Lucy. You don’t need to do their work for them.

LUCY

I know, but I’ve worked here for 5 years, longer than Candy, and I know things! My jeans business has been decent. I just wish someone would notice me.

SEAN

By someone, you really mean David.

LUCY

 Shhh! Sean, not too loud. His desk is right over there. Of course, I’d love to have a           real conversation with our boss, who wouldn’t?

(David walks in, papers in hand, purposely.)

DAVID

Attention everyone! Here are your plane tickets and hotel confirmations for New York. Tuesday morning we’re meeting at the fashion office at 8 am sharp, no excuses. Make sure you bring your fall plans and assortments. (He passes out papers to each of the buyers.) Also, there is a mandatory meeting at O’Connell’s Pub at 6 pm.

CANDY

What fun! But what if I already have plans for dinner?

DAVID

I know you have a very busy social life, Candy, but our team needs some bonding time. After 8 you’re free to do as you wish.

SUSIE

 I’m not sure I want to be bonded to anyone on this team.

CANDY

Don’t be a party pooper! It sounds like fun. Lisa from Tinkles told me that O’Connell’s is an “in”place right now. An old-fashioned tavern with gourmet food, all the right people will be there.

LUCY

 It will be great to hang out with each other outside of work.

(They all ignore her.)

CANDY

 It will be great to hang out with you guys outside of work!

DAVID

That’s the spirit, Candy! You’re our Lucky 17 cheerleader!

SUSIE

(sarcastically) Go team go!

 

LUCY

(sitting down and talking only to Sean) Everything I say- someone else gets the credit for it!

SEAN

 Now, now Lucy- you’re getting upset over nothing.

LUCY

What about the pencil jeans from last year’s Back to School catalog? I found them first,   but Susie brought in the sample to the catalog meeting. Everyone was so excited that David demanded that I order 5000 pairs. They sold out to the last pair at regular price!

SEAN

Well, that was your idea first, but it all worked out, didn’t it?

LUCY

And what about the corduroy jeans for the Christmas catalog? I wanted to shoot the pink color for the cover. I tried to convince everyone but no one listened. Then Candy showed her pink knit scarf at the Monday meeting, and David asked for the pink corduroys to shoot with her scarf.

SEAN

But those are only isolated incidents. Come on, Lucy. You are a talented buyer. No one can take that away from you. If people don’t listen to you, they just don’t know what they are missing.

LUCY

They don’t listen to me because I don’t stand out, that’s all. I am plain and boring. My ugliness prevents everyone from noticing me.

SEAN

If you were really that hideous, I think they would notice. You’re beautiful, in your own unique way. They just don’t take time to really see you.

LUCY

 I’m not even remarkably ugly! I wish I was as glamorous as Candy, and or as assertive as Susie- then David would notice me!

SEAN

I’d be careful what you wish for, my friend. Wishes have an awful way of coming             true.

(Black out)

Rain in the Mirror (A College of the Crones short story)

Boom! Unexpected thunder caused Yvette to jump, resulting in a black line down her cheek.

“Sunne, you’ve ruined my makeup!” she shouted at her crone servant who had been carefully outlining her eyes with a black stick.

“So sorry, my lady, but you moved,” the hunched over, wrinkled old woman insisted as she carefully sponged off the errant line. A flash of lightning blinded them both for a moment.

“I hate thunder storms,” Yvette complained for the tenth time that day. She sighed and fidgeted with her corset. Her reflection in the large mirror on the wall behind her dressing table showed a beautiful young woman being tended by an ugly old woman. In the land of Beautiful, unmarried women over the age of eighteen transformed into hideous crones. But Alfred rescued me from that fate. Her marriage was prerequisite to buying the tonic. But the beauty she saw reflected in her face became marred on days such as this one.

Rain made her life impossible. Her sleek, waist length hair became fuzzy and resistant to the straightening iron. Her face powder clotted into lumps, and her eyeliner refused to dry properly. And that was just getting dressed! Getting into her carriage was an ordeal. Carpets had to be laid from her doorstep to the carriage. Two crone servants had to carry a canopy held up with rods to cover her as she walked outside. One servant walked behind her, lifting up Yvette’s skirts so they didn’t brush against the wet steps. When they finally arrived at the prince’s castle, the canopy came out again as she carefully walked down the carpets provided by the prince’s staff. Dressing rooms just inside the castle provided a final chance to check makeup and hair. A great deal of trouble, even for the prince’s parties.

            “You are finished, my lady,” the crone announced as she stepped back to admire her work. Even though the beauty tonic changed Yvette’s appearance, most of the wives felt that makeup and hair styling were still required. The wife twirled around in her dress, a pale pink blossom of lace and satin. She checked to make sure her golden combs holding back her perfectly straight hair were tight enough. She inspected the tiny pink flowers fastened into the braids using her mirror. Upon her long neck were displayed a set of perfectly matched pearls. Her mouth smirked back at her as she remembered her husband’s uncomfortableness when she received the necklace as a gift from the prince. With a nod to herself, she smoothed down her full skirt and reached for the lace gloves offered to her by her crone servant.

“Not a moment to spare,” Yvette grumbled as she swished out of the room. Sunne replaced the lids on the makeup jars and put them away in the jewel encrusted box on the dressing table. Her stiff curled fingers made the task more difficult than it should. Carefully, she hung the other dresses that had been rejected by her mistress back into the large closet that adjoined the dressing room. Then she walked to the large ceiling to floor window, opening one shutter to glance out at the storm.

Swirling in the wind, the trees surrounding the manor house seemed to hold their vivid green leaves up to gather the drops. The rose garden below her washed their red, yellow, and orange heads in the shower. Gleaming white, the crumbled stone driveway looked like snow. “The rain renews the earth,” she said out loud to no one. No one listened to a crone.

Another grumble of thunder hailed her from the distance. She counted to ten before the answering flash of lightning. The storm was almost past them now. Even though her life was dedicated to service, her mistress sometimes irked her with her petulance. Rain brings beauty. Not the false beauty provided by the tonic, but the real beauty of life. The God Who Really Sees gives rain freely to those who thirst.

raindrop

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