…On Poetry and Fiction
Just “One Word” Away (“Heirloom”)
written by: Phyllis P. Colucci
One word becomes one idea, becomes one sentence, becomes one poem, becomes one story. It must start from just “one word”. Today my one word is “Heirloom”.
An excerpt from Chapter Four of my Novel, “Lives Unbalanced”, titled “RAMONA AND THE HEIRLOOM ROOM”
Susan thought this would be the perfect time to show Jim “The Heirloom Room”, and introduce him to Ramona; although she felt a bit apprehensive about Ramona. She feared Jim would think her connection to a ragdoll was abnormal, especially for an adult. However, she wanted to do it anyway. She wanted to share her beloved Ramona with her new best friend. She loved Ramona dearly, and Ramona helped her through many of life’s obstacles. Jim should know about Ramona since that ragdoll is a big part of her life, and Jim may soon become a big part of her life as well. In her complicated mind, Susan wanted the three of them to become friends. So she led, and Jim followed…
“Interesting,” he said, as he looked around “The Heirloom Room”. He was most interested in the old books, newspapers and magazines. The old news stories from the past had historical value that he found captivating. Of course he would love those. He was a writer, after all; just as Susan was. He carefully flipped through the books, newspapers and magazines with great pleasure. His eyes were intensely glued to the printed information, and Susan saw that he had an appetite for more. So she fed him more of the same from the dusty old boxes in her “Heirloom Room”. He was fixated on this stuff.
Susan then directed his attention to her dad’s coin and stamp collections. Jim was even more excited to see how old and valuable they were. He told Susan that she had some very expensive items here and wondered if she truly knew how valuable they were. Susan nodded in the affirmative and said, “Oh yes, Jim. I am well aware of what’s in this room. Marty and I always talked about having all of these things appraised one day. However, once he moved to Florida, we never discussed it again. Now he’s gone.” A few tears fell from Susan’s eyes as she thought about Marty. Jim wrapped his arms around her shoulders and held her close for a few short moments. She felt so comforted and she felt so safe.
Jim’s eyes perused over the rest of “The Heirloom Room”, until he came across her collection of old Victorian porcelain dolls. He seemed to truly appreciate their beauty and their value. He looked over at Susan and said, “Wow. Now those dolls are priceless. I always admired them in antique shops and specialty store windows. They are so lifelike. Their beauty is intriguing. It’s almost as if they have something to say.” Susan replied, “I can’t believe you said that, Jim. I felt the same way about those dolls.” He continued to look at them, and ran his fingers across their faces. Susan was amazed at his reaction to those dolls. He truly had an affinity for old-time vintage and a keen ability to recognize its worth.
Susan thoroughly enjoyed watching Jim marvel at the items in “The Heirloom Room”. She stood silently by his side, while he continued to browse as if he were actually in one of the antique shops or specialty stores he mentioned minutes ago. She loved learning about this part of who Jim was. It seemed to connect them even more. Susan felt that this would be a perfect time to introduce Jim to Ramona. She quietly walked over to the old wooden rocking chair, and lifted Ramona up and into her arms. She held her as if she were alive. She stared into her rhinestone eyes and looked for an inkling of her Mother’s soul. Today Ramona seemed shy. Susan straightened out the wrinkles in the doll’s satin burgundy dress and walked her over to Jim.
Jim turned around and asked, “What do you have there, Susan?” Susan said, “Let me introduce you to my friend, ‘Ramona’. The most loyal friend a girl can have when no one else is around.” Before Jim could comment, Susan explained how Ramona came to be. She proudly told Jim how Ramona was created by her mom’s own hands and was a very unique and special ragdoll made with love, for Susan, when she was a child. Susan added, quite seriously, “Sometimes I can see my mother’s soul through ‘Ramona’s’ sparkling eyes. I can hear my mother speak to me and guide me through those eyes. My mom knew what she was doing when she created Ramona for me. It’s as if mom never left…and Ramona is proof of that. I often listen to Ramona when I have questions. Ramona always has the answers.”
Suddenly Jim had this stunned look on his face. He seemed a bit startled and shocked as he gazed into Susan’s eyes. He tried to read her. He tried to understand her. He tried to figure out if Susan was innocently reminiscing about her mom through the ragdoll, or if she was bordering on lunacy and absurdity. He was confused. He was just getting to know Susan, and she him. Perhaps it was too soon to tell. So Jim said, “Nice to meet you, Ramona,” and quickly looked away. Susan grabbed his arm and said, “Hold her! Smile at her! Look into her eyes!” She placed Ramona in Jim’s arms and added, “Meeting Ramona is like meeting my mom. I’m so happy about that, Jim. I can see through Ramona’s eyes that my mom approves of you.” Jim dropped the doll to the ground by accident. His nervous hands just let her go. The sparkle in Ramona’s rhinestone eyes was bewitching, and Jim felt it. He apologized several times for the mishap as he looked down at Ramona. Although he was fully aware that Ramona was a ragdoll, Jim felt as if he had just dropped a child; a live child. Ramona looked back, and Jim turned away. It was bizarre.
Susan fell to the floor, lifted Ramona up, and held her close; she rocked her back and forth as she hummed a lullaby into her ear. Jim watched in surprise. He wondered what the heck happened here. Susan placed Ramona back on the old wooden rocking chair and kissed her cheek. Jim heard Susan whisper to the doll, that he – meaning Jim – did not drop her on purpose and that Jim was a really nice man and a good friend. She then turned to Jim and assured him that both Ramona and her mother forgave him for this little mishap. They understood that it was just an accident. Jim was stupefied. He was unsure of what to make of this episode in “The Heirloom Room”. He was unsure as to what to make of Susan. If he hadn’t known better, he felt as if he were in the Twilight Zone.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
“Heirlooms” are treasures that tell great stories of past generations. To some, they may be useless; to others they are the heart and mystery of one’s existence. Their value is immeasurable.
Phyllis P. Colucci
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