Another installment inspired in part by this lovely painting by Casper David Fredrich and Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge.
“Well, I’m off to pack! Breakfast was wonderful Hannah!”
“My pleasure ma’am.” Hannah forced a smile until Helen left the room. She glanced at Helen’s list of duties. It included daily as well as additional tasks specific to each day of the week. It was exactly what Hannah expected. Her mother had prepared her well.
She cleared the table and washed the dishes, grateful for the work that laid ahead. The whirlwind of the past few days had nearly undone her, but Hannah was determined.
She gathered the broom and duster and headed into the parlor. Hannah liked to dust. It gave her a chance to examine the valuable trinkets and photographs that lined the mantle and shelves in regal homes such as this. The things people collect, and the photographs that they display, often tell hidden stories that are never mentioned in polite conversation.
There were a number of jade figurines, flanked by beautifully ornate faberge eggs on the mantle. A floor to ceiling corner cabinet contained more treasures: a China tea set, several carved tiny boxes and a silver service. Hannah was so enthralled with the interesting array of knickknacks that she didn’t notice the absence of family photographs.
There were only two framed prints on the mantle, an early photograph of the house and one of the garden. She was mesmerized by the garden photograph. Even in black and white, there was no denying the vibrant splendor of the garden. The broken arbor that she had noticed the day before was beautiful and strong, cloaked in climbing vines. Hannah leaned in. “Mmm, I wonder if that’s wisteria…”
“Ah, you’ve found a photograph of our garden back in its day. Shows you what that old yard of weeds can be, with a bit of attention!” Helen entered the parlor, her coat draped over her arm and suitcase in tow. “The taxi should be arriving soon. Do you have any questions before I leave Hannah?”
“Just one. Is that wisteria covering the arbor?”
Helen laughed, “Oh my, I can see that I’m leaving the garden…and our family home in very good hands! It is wisteria. My mother’s favorite.”
“Mine too.” Hannah beamed.
“The taxi has arrived. Please tell the driver to help me with my bags.”
Hannah rushed past Helen to greet the driver. “Hello sir. Come in please. We have some luggage.”
Helen winked at Hannah as she followed the driver out the door. “My brother has a hard shell Hannah, but he’s a good egg. Give it time, you’ll see.”
Hannah sighed, smiling to herself as she leaned against the door. Ideas were swirling around in her head. She rushed past the parlor through the breezeway and out the back door to the garden.
Hannah stood in the middle of the brush taking it all in, “Tomorrow. Yes! Tomorrow my green friend, you and I will get to know one another!”
She returned to the house to finish her chores and plan dinner. “This is an important night.” she told the broom as she swept the entranceway. “As you know, we need to impress Mr. Chambers.” Hannah smiled, confident that she would crack that egg!
Read Parts 1-9 HERE.