Friday, July 13, 2007

"Mrs. Stone's Rosetta"

A Short Story By Sheree Rensel

Mrs. Stone sat on her window seat sipping her morning tea. She peered out at the ubiquitous specks of color littering her porch like suspended flecks of confetti. She smiled at the array. These were her children. Her family started years ago. Agoraphobic by nature, she lived vicariously through her friends. One friend gave her a travel souvenir. It was a beautiful Black Orchid from Belize. That delicate, purple bloom was her first born. She finally had a reason to get up each morning. As the years progressed, her family grew. Friends brought more offerings. Ms. Stone would scour online auctions to add to her diverse clan of orchids. She set up her porch like a gated play yard for her brood. They all thrived!
The clink of the teacup to saucer sounded the beginning of her daily ritual. She poured and measured the plant food elixir. She gathered her tools and gloves. She donned her beekeepers outfit. Melissophobia was just one of her many fears. The suit not only protected her from these pesky critters, but also acted as armor protecting her from the world. She shuffled out to visit her babies. She fed, primped, and groomed each flower. As she pampered her precious Cattleya, she quickly recoiled and jumped back. Behind the decorative pot, she saw the gray web of a brown recluse spider. Standing at a distance, she watched the creature move and spin like a yo-yo out of control. She found humor in this erratic dance. She became mesmerized.
The next morning her routine was hastened. Of course, Mrs. Stone was anxious to see her orchids, but thoughts of the spider gave her an extra shot of energy. Once outside, she peeked around the pot. It was still there and had been busy! The sticky, irregular web had grown. Reminiscent of indecipherable scrawls containing universal secrets, she was amazed at the marvel of the airy strokes. From that observation, she decided to name her new friend Rosetta.
Mrs. Stone's routine was never perfunctory. Therefore, it was necessary for her to add Rosetta's needs to her list of chores with detail and care. Each day, she would wander the house to find dead bugs to put in the spider's web. She fed her orchids and Rosetta needed to eat too! It was almost as if the little spider could sense her interest. As Mrs. Stone would draw nearer, Rosetta would step closer toward her. Albeit quixotic Mrs. Stone cultivated this friendship with careful visits each day. For all intents and purposes, their relationship became a quid pro quo. Both seemed to thrive on each other's company. Rosetta would scamper out at the creak of the screen door waiting for the daily meal. Mrs. Stone still loved her orchids, but Rosetta provided a curious personality easy to like and appreciate.
The storm clouds came out of nowhere. Mrs. Stone scrambled to bring her orchids indoors. The winds rushed wild as Mrs. Stone waddled in and out. The weight of the beekeeper's suit weighed her down causing moments of panic and exhaustion. Finally, her floral family was safely out of harms way. Mrs. Stone went outside for one last check. There stood Rosetta willfully straddling the threads of her home. She glanced away and went to take cover. The rain was furious, but brief. As the porch began to dry, Mrs. Stone peered out her window to check on Rosetta. The humid steam hindered her view. Forgetting her fears, Mrs. Stone ran outside. Maybe the web was still there. Maybe Rosetta was hiding in a crevice. Maybe…? After surveying the porch, Mrs. Stone realized her friend had moved on. Mrs. Stone went back into the house to ponder. Rosetta had been a simple pleasure. Sad only for the loss of friendship, Mrs. Stone knew Rosetta had ventured out into the world to find new sights, a new home, and a new life. Realizing Rosetta's many lessons and embracing the idea of new possibilities, Mrs. Stone walked to the front door of her house. She opened the door to the outside world. Rosetta's final gift was to show Mrs. Stone how to abrogate her many fears. She now realized the world could fascinate the senses. With a timid, but courageous step, Mrs. Stone ventured out. Looking up the long street, she decided to walk to the garden shop to buy a new, spider orchid.

"Mrs. Stone's Rosetta"
Acrylic on Canvas
8" X 10"
Click to Enlarge Illustration and Text

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