2013 Summer Creative Writing Contest ~Honorable Mention~

Heart Matters

by Renette Steele

30 “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” Matthew 19:30 (NASB)

Carolynn stood there staring. She knew some thought it strange there were no tears, but she had cried herself out.  Though she would greatly miss her mother, Cortence, had graduated on to heaven and was having the best party ever. Carolynn longed to be there too!

Carolynn’s whole life had been planned; all her dreams were coming true, when Cortence had fallen ill. Carolynn had put everything on hold to be with her this last year. Now her dreams didn’t seem to matter so much. She still had everything to take care of, who knew how long that would take.

Carolynn promised she would visit the summer house in Derling on Dover Street. They hadn’t been there in years. She remembered it fondly and looked forward to seeing it once again.

Carolynn arrived in her lexis, checking the address again; she drove down main almost to the end turned right and on up the hill, at the top stood the old Victorian. The yard was still well kept but the old yellow house was fading, it could use a good coat of paint. She knocked on the door, two dear old faces answered, they were amazed at how grown up she was. They were not just care takers of the Victorian, but her mother’s close friends. Until Carolynn had written after the funeral they hadn’t known of her mother’s illness.

Carolynn enjoyed tea then walked through the house noticing all the things that needed repaired, she promised to get someone on the job right away and stop in periodically to check on the progress. The older couple was delighted the place would be restored and used again.

****

 

Courtney stepped off the train searching for a familiar face; would she remember Mrs. Bede, would Mrs. Bede remember her?  Courtney hadn’t seen her since she was about 12 years old. She should have known Mrs. Bede would know her; there she stood with a huge smile on her face, waving her arms and calling out to Courtney. Wrapping her in a huge hug she said;

“Oh, sweet heart I ‘m so sorry about your momma, but it is so good to have you here with us. Now don’t you worry we will take excellent care of you!”

Courtney could only whisper her thanks.

After a week with the Bede’s Courtney borrowed the car and took a long drive through the country side.  She loved the way the trees made a tunnel over the road and as she rounded a bend she saw the old farm house. It wasn’t much but she knew how to fix it up on her own.  She had not made it to design school. Yet she studied plenty of magazines to get great ideas. She would see about moving into the house. The fix up should work into her budget just fine. The one luxury she would afford herself would be to bring the old 1957 Chevy truck up from her parents.

****

 

Eleanor was the Ladies Aide president and made it her business to know everything happening around town; Frank was always so busy being the leading cardiologist, besides being his bride also brought great social responsibility. Eleanor took it all very seriously because it kept her busy and from being lonely. She really just needed a friend. She made her daily rounds about town and learned of two new ladies that would be coming to church.

Eleanor scanned the church looking around hoping to spot someone new. Off to her right was a very refined looking lady, that’s the only new face she saw. After church Eleanor bee lined it over to introduce herself;

“Hi, Eleanor… the Ladies Aide President, my husband is DR. Frank, you may have heard of him. We’d love to have you join us at Ladies Aide; we do so many good deeds you know!”

Once Eleanor stopped for a breath Carolynn was able to say, “Hi”

With some further inquires around town Eleanor learned the lady, Carolynn, had moved into the huge house on Dover Street. She seemed to be doing well, paying cash for all the upgrades she was making to the place.

“Oh, wouldn’t she be an asset to the Ladies Aide?”

For several weeks Eleanor keep her eye on Carolynn. Then one Sunday she noticed a new lady in church. She was dressed rather frumpy and seemed sort of boisterous. After church Eleanor tried to slip out but the lady made a bee line for her.

“I understand you are the Ladies Aide president, I would love to help out any way I can. My name is Courtney.”

Eleanor wasn’t sure what to think.

Another couple months went by. Carolynn was often in church, While Courtney only seemed to come once in a while.

Soon it was time for the Ladies Aide memberships drive. Once again, Eleanor made sure to invite Carolynn. Carolynn agreed to have Eleanor come over for the interview. Eleanor was delighted. Courtney inquired about joining and Eleanor reluctantly set up the interview.

The first interview was with Carolynn. Eleanor carefully chose her best outfit and took special care in her appearance; she wanted to impress Carolynn so she would join the Ladies Aide.

Carolynn dressed casual and comfortable that day, yet still looked classy. She put out the everyday tea cups, she wanted Eleanor to be comfortable in her home and see she was like everyone else.

Eleanor arrived at Carolynn’s house, seeing a sign; “Guest please park here. Please don’t walk on the grass.”  Eleanor was extra careful to park in the designated spot even though it was quite a ways from the house. When she got out of the car she made sure she walked on the narrow path up to the house.

They were having a nice visit when Eleanor asked to use the washroom to freshen up. Her mother had always taught her you can learn so much about a person from their medicine cabinet. Eleanor closed the door noticing the slight scent of rose petals. She proceeded to look around, even inside the cabinets. Everything was very elegant, pretty glass containers holding everything in its proper place. Eleanor decided she should at least wash her hands.  That’s when she spotted them, the set of beautiful golden rose soaps. I bet she has more, she won’t miss just one and she slipped one in her purse.

The following week Eleanor prepared to go to Courtney’s, country address. Eleanor chose something nice but casual thinking it won’t matter anyway. When she got to the house the yard was tidy but needed to be mowed, there was a wide gravel path leading the short distance to the house. Eleanor not paying much attention parked her car on the grass next to the house, it seemed closer. Upon getting out of the car she noticed a sign, “Guest please park here. Please stay off the grass.” Eleanor tromped across the grass to the front porch any way, thinking it doesn’t really make any difference.

Courtney had taken great care to put out her finest china for the tea and dress in her best outfit; she wanted Eleanor to see she could fit into the Ladies Aide.

Eleanor was surprised the visit was going as well as it was.  She thought well I am sure there’s not much to see but you can tell so much from a medicine cabinet. Eleanor asked if she could freshen up. The room was small, smelling of Pine-Sol, things were neat, but not as elegant and clean as Carolynn’s had been. Eleanor thought I should just wash my hands, as she reached for the towel she saw them, the same elegant set of golden rose soaps. She was shocked.

When she went back in the living room she inquired about them.

“What beautiful rose soaps you have.  They must have cost you a lot.”

Courtney said “More than you know, they belonged to my mother. Would you like some I have another set I can give you. The store that carried them knew they were my mother’s favorite and when she passed away they kindly gave me what was left in stock.”

Eleanor said “Oh, no I could never. They look to expensive and mean so much to you being from your mother. “

Courtney replied “I was freely given and I freely give. They didn’t cost me as much as the one you have in your purse.”

“How did you know?”

“My sister Carolynn was given the same gift and if you had asked her she would have gladly given you a set as well. She too has a generous heart. “

“Sister? —  But how?”

“Actually we are one in the same.  You see with a change of clothes, a little makeup and a slightly altered hair style I can look quite different.

My family owns two houses: one from my father’s family and one from my mother’s family. When I moved to town I wanted to test how people would care about each other. I have been taking care of both places. You respected my house instructions on Dover but you stole from me thinking it would not matter.

Here you did not take from me but you did not respect my home. You drove on the grass which had recently been planted and treated with poison weed killer. Your shoes are covered with chemicals because you chose to walk on the grass. There are ruts from your car, which I will have to get out.

I am afraid I must decline your invitation for both of us to join the Ladies Aide. I feel I can accomplish more on my own with GOD helping me.”

31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”  Mark 10:31 (NASB)