Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#63 The Christmas Ornament

The clock struck three.

Adri waited for more bells, but the clock stayed silent. “Only three?” She asked. “But it’s eleven in the morning!”

Grandma laughed. “That poor old clock. It’s over a hundred years old, so we just let it do whatever it wants to and we don’t complain. We’re just glad she’s still ticking.”

Adri stared at the fancy black hands in the clock’s age-speckled face. The long hand to the eleven, the short hand to the twelve. What good was a chime in the clock if it didn’t tell the right time?

“Come and help me, Adri,” Grandma unwrapped a yellowed piece of tissue paper from around a glass ornament. It was shaped like a lemon, sort of, a lemon with very pointy ends. “Do you see this? It’s very old too, almost as old as the clock. Your great-great-great- I don’t know how many great grandmother brought them over from Europe.”

Adri cupped the shiny thing in her hands. Hand-painted leaves and berries circled the mirrored surface. She held it close to see her reflection. Then she almost dropped it.

The little girl’s face in the reflection wasn’t hers.

“Grandma,” Adri whispered, staring at the other girl. She had her dark hair in long braids, and wore a dress. The room around her was different, too. There was no piano, and the couch was more like a wooden bench with a cushion on it, and over the little girl’s shoulder Adri could see a huge fireplace, and on the fireplace mantle, Grandma’s old clock.

The little girl didn’t seem to notice Adri at all. She only stared back at Adri for a moment, and then the reflection began to move as the little girl stretched out her arm. The curved surface quickly made the girl look tiny while her hand and the lacy end of her sleeve remained huge. Green pine needles appeared, large around the edges of the image, and then the little girl let go of the ornament and bent to get another one out of the box.

“Hurry and hang it up, dear,” Grandma said. “There’s lots more.”

“Grandma, the reflection,” Adri said. “There’s someone else in it!”

Grandma squinted at the ornament. “I’d need my glasses, sweetheart.”

The whole box of ornaments showed a different room than the one Adri and grandma worked in. There were several children who came and went, a woman with a pile of dark brown hair done up on top of her head and an apron over her blouse and long skirt, and a man in a suit. Adri wondered who they were.

An hour later, the clock chimed again, this time Adri counted the twelve bells, just as it should be. The Christmas Tree was finished, and Grandma was putting all the wrapping paper away in the boxes. Adri checked her magic ornaments again, and this time saw herself reflected, with the clock on a bookshelf behind her.

No comments:

Post a Comment