Monday, August 9, 2010

Magpie Tales: Beyond the Walls

Every day on her way to work at the only law office in the pastoral town, she walked passed a watering can set upon the cap of a stone wall. Weathered with a verdigris patina the long necked spout held out the multi-holed rose as if offering a cool drink from its dark, mysterious interior. On the other side of the wall a verdant green oasis dotted with tulips in spring transformed into a pink pleasure place filled with roses that scented the air with every whisper of wind that touseled wisps of hair and fluttered the hem of a skirt. At times, she stopped to peer into the garden with squinted eyes making out the curved outline of a feminine form beneath a tree. In the three years that she navigated this route to and from her office job, today was the first time she saw anyone in the garden.

Bending at the waist he plucked a weed from a patch of ashes of rose flowers. As he stood up, his rheumy eyes met clear baby blues and for a moment the two locked into a surprise stare. She broke the moment with a wave of her hand and an upturned smile. "May I come in?" she asked without hesitating.

Slowly, he shuffled over to the wall, patting his white hair down with one blue-veined hand, and straightening himself to his full 6 feet height. A gentleman always looked presentable.

"I walk by your garden every day on my way to work." she explained smiling soft and friendly, 'and well....I thought since I saw someone in the garden that perhaps you wouldn't mind if I...."

The old man suddenly realized he was still holding the weed in one hand and gave it a quick toss. "Well, I don’t know. I don't often have guests in my garden."

"It's so lovely, so....pink." she added with a flourish of her hand.

The old man pondered her face and saw a kindness too often lacking in the people who hurried by his wall, hands clenched in tight fists pumping to a beat from headphones that looked like two black donuts. "There’s a gate on the other side," he said turning and walking away from the wall.

Magritte found the gate and opened the black iron latch that held it closed. There was no flowery sign that welcomed visitors to the garden, no cute little cement rabbits, fairies or gnomes to greet passersby, and no gazing balls to mesmerize children. What she discovered was a serene coolness beneath ancient trees surrounded by pink flowers. Spent peonies gave way to hydrangeas that yielded to pink annuals of all shapes and textures. Spring-green ferns softened the edges and everywhere, climbing, crawling, and standing were luscious pink rose petals swirling around high points. Roses, in every shade of pink imaginable from the palest to the deepest, grew in joyous abandon inside the walled garden. Her breath caught in her throat as she took it all in....the beauty and gentle sweetness of the variation on a hue.

A sculpture of a weeping woman seated on a bench overlooked the walled backyard turned garden with a vacant stare. Tears, exquisitely sculpted on bronzed cheeks, caught tiny glimmers of light as a hand, lying in her lap, clutched a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. At her bare feet grew a profusion of pink Damask roses, the scent rising with the heat. "What a beautiful sculpture," murmured Magritte.

The man smiled, but offered no explanation of how such a sublime work of art came to be in his garden.

One turn around the garden and then he suggested she come back another time for a visit and perhaps tea. "Do you drink tea?" he inquired. She nodded as he opened the gate.

"Thank you for letting me visit your...." She began, but he was all ready walking down the flagstone path to the garden.

As she continued on her way home, she realized she'd forgotten to ask him about the watering can on the wall. With a smile, she decided that the watering can would be a perfect tea-time tale and she looked forward to the telling.

Written for Magpie Tales inspired by the watering can photo at the top.

17 comments:

Kavita said...

This was such a fascinating story... and the way you've described the flowers just goes to show your love for flowers and gardening... And if that's not the case, then you have an amazing way of bringing things to life with your words...
I hope there is a continuation to this story.. I would love to read it .. really!

Kavita said...

This was such a fascinating story... and the way you've described the flowers just goes to show your love for flowers and gardening... And if that's not the case, then you have an amazing way of bringing things to life with your words...
I hope there is a continuation to this story.. I would love to read it .. really!

septembermom said...

This really captivated me. I liked how the dialogue flowed between them. Wonderfully inspired story to the prompt. I also appreciate your love of flowers evident in the descriptive imagery here. Well done.

Teresa O said...

Kavita...thank you for stopping and reading my take on the watering can. You're quite right, gardening and flowers have been one of my passions and any time I can blend writing with flowers I'm a happy camper. Who knows? I may just write about tea in the garden one of these days and just why that can sits on the wall.

septembermom...It's good to see you and thanks for reading my story. Dialog is one of the toughest parts of writing, at least for me. Nothing bores me faster than stiff conversation on the page. I try to write it in the same way as I talk, even though a creative writing prof said, "No, no." Oh well...

Teresa said...

Nice story. You have some very descriptive narrative.

PattiKen said...

I really enjoyed this. I was right there with Magritte in that beautiful and fragrant garden. I want to know about the statue. This story begs to be continued when she goes back for another visit.

Helen said...

You have told a lovely story .. but I couldn't help wondering if the kind old gentleman had plans for Magritte .. perhaps that is how he acquired his beautiful bronze ladies?
shame on me for going there .....

Brian Miller said...

excellent magpie...love the vivid description and from our comment i can see wher it comes from...so look forward to the tea time so we can hear more of the watering can...

Aurora said...

OH WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY AND AN EXQUISITE GARDEN. iT HINTS OF SUCH BEAUTY, AND TALES NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN.
BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, PLEASE CONTINUE!

Linda said...

Beautiful. I'd like to hear more as well.

willow said...

Oh, very nicely written! I loved the line, "It's so lovely, so....pink."

Tumblewords: said...

A wonderful feeling in this well written tale...

ds said...

Oh, this is a wonderful story! I want to know more!(Who is the old man, what is the statue, how about that watering can--and why is her name Magritte? Is she about to walk through the trees in sections?)
Thank you for the very nice words you left on my blog today.

Teresa O said...

Oh how I hate it when I comment on my own blog and the web gods grasp it and toss into obscurity. So, I'll try again.

Teresa...Thanks for stopping by and reading my story. Writing descriptions, scenes, etc are probably what I enjoy most.

Pattiken...Thank you so much for your comments and encouraging me to continue the story. I just may do it.

Helen...I'm intrigued by your thoughts on the bronze lady. Perhaps the story should take a dark twist.

Brian...Yep, I'm somewhat passionate about flowers and gardens. Consider yourself invited to tea along with Magritte.

Teresa O said...

Aurora...thanks for your encouragement. I always enjoy your visits.

Linda...thanks for stopping by. I'm considering writing another chapter one of these days.

Willow...I'm a pink flower lover as well as there's a bit of symbolism within the use of pink flowers. Thank you for your kind comment.

Tumblewords...What a perfect blog title...for words do tumble out and on to the page. I'm glad as you read a feeling came through. Thanks for stopping by.

ds...Wow so many questions! I like it when a story leads me to more questions. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a much appreciated comment.

Selma said...

You must be a gardener. You've described the garden perfectly. I felt as if I had been transported to a beautiful English garden. A gorgeous tale!

Felicitas said...

What a lovely tale! Your description of the garden made it so inviting... some place I'd like to visit too!