Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Afternoon Tea (pt. 1)

Helen prepared the table, bustling about the dining room busily, discarding the flowers that had wilted and nipping out to the garden to pick new ones - a sweet-pea here, a carnation there. She dusted the shelves and the curios on them almost obsessively. She knew well enough that the doctor would not care, but the actions were comforting, a reminder of happier times. She severely missed entertaining friends. While her friends tried not to reveal their discomfort, and they corresponded with her constantly, it was not the same. Some tried to console her with the legend that her sickness enhanced artistic powers, which she did not truly believe. (Or had not - now that these strange visions haunted her nights, she was forced to consider that it might not be purely myth.) Others urged her to seek consolation in faith; she had done so, and was as pious as anyone, but still she feared. (Some people had even questioned her faith; not her friends of course, but acquaintances she had previously thought highly of, and respected, if distantly. But one could never tell about such people. Some seemed quite well meaning, suggesting it was a test from Above. They meant it honestly, and kindly enough, but it was no comfort -- even if they were right.) The only exception to the general coolness that had fallen over her friendships was Marguerite, whom before she had never been very close to; she was too cheerful, too wonderful, too kind; everyone looked shabby and selfish next to Margie. She wouldn't think of breaking off a friendship (even one that had before not been very strong) due to a little thing like a deadly disease. Marguerite was a poet, though not a very good one - her verse was lively, but trite.

Perhaps had she married she would have had help in this dire time. But she had never found anyone, and now there was no longer any chance to do so. Unless the doctors could work some miracle, she would pass away with no legacy but her artwork. She was fortunate in that at least - most in her situation would be forgotten utterly, leaving nothing.

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