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Jessie was 91 and joked she didn’t look a day over 90 and proud of it. What a ham, what a delight. She held court three days a week at Marisa’s boutique arriving at ten am and leaving precisely at three considering her day well spent.
Her stories were timeless, energetic, scandalous (for her day), impromptu, and vital told with pizzazz and joy. Perhaps that’s why she was so spry and her memories so clear. Even the young would sit enraptured by her tales. Wistful longing upon their faces perhaps seeing themselves sailing along on one of her adventures. On occasion, Marisa was caught up in the story herself and felt cheated as she listened to Jessie’s delightful whimsical memories wishing she too had lived a doing or dare existence. Today was no exception. Jessie was so vivacious, so infectious you wanted to be there, part of each story.
Perhaps one day she’d write them all down before it was too late and they were lost. Marisa was a bit of a story writer herself and hoped to corner her and suggest the possibility. What a privilege to be her ghost-writer, re-telling each story exactly as Jessie had related them.
Jessie wandered into her home pleased with herself. After removing her coat hat and gloves, she sat down in front of her table. Looking down, she smiled. All her stories were neatly handwritten in a beautifully bound book. She wrapped it carefully in brown paper, wrote Marisa’s name on it and tied it up with string.
That’s how they found her, as if she’d fallen asleep at her table. Marisa had sent a couple of local men to search for her as she hadn’t arrived for her daily story telling session. They brought the book with them and handed it across. Marisa dissolved into tears. She’d miss Jessie, as would all her patrons.
News spread fast, and they gathered at the boutique to pay their respects. Marisa opened the brown paper and saw the beautiful stories Jessie had written and shared, staring in disbelief. Her handwriting was exemplary, her tales immortalized forever.
The community paid to have the book redone, all proceeds to go to the Jessie scholarship fund for other eager young writers, many of whom were present daily. A delightful legacy indeed.
Anna welcomed everyone. She was a natural at placing regulars and new arrivals at ease. Hiring her was the best move Frank ever made. Youthful, vibrant, a seeker of life, that summed up a part of who she was. Loving and caring following closely behind.
Other’s held the position before her, showing xenophobic tendencies (stranger fearing) as he described them. Not so Anna, thankfully. Every visitor to his humble abode was welcomed with open arms. He found her a constant delight, refreshing, open.
Still, he hadn’t been able to make inroads into her heart. With him, she was standoffish, distant, on alert. He wondered why. A gentleman from start to finish, he took his cues from her, responding accordingly. Frank remained careful, holding her at arm’s length, never crossing boundaries or moving too fast.
He valued everything about her. With time, he hoped she’d see him in a different light but short of asking her outright and endangering the fragile gift of friendship they currently shared, he was at a loss. Dare he risk losing her by asking for more? Time, he’d give it a little more time and then he’d make his move. Perhaps time would provide the answers he sought.