Wednesday, August 30, 2006

treasure and trash, part 1


Her eyes lit up, and a little gasp escaped her lips, as her tiny four-year-old fingers reached for the shiny object lying there on the top of the pile. It was pearly white, cool, and smooth to her touch. She rubbed it lightly on her cheek, feeling the glossiness of the round jar.

With her other hand, she unscrewed the lid, and peeked inside. It was white too, and creamy. She sniffed. It smelled beautiful. She put the lid back on the jar, held it tightly, and went back to searching for treasures.

She stepped somewhat gingerly through the piles, as she was barefoot yet again. She was invariably barefoot, but not because she didn't have shoes, or didn't want to wear them. It was because she kept losing her shoes - well, one of them, anyway. She didn't know why the mate kept disappearing, and mommie could never find it. And it seemed pretty silly to wear just one shoe, so she went barefoot whenever the weather was even remotely warm enough. Otherwise, she was stuck at home. Mommie smacked her more over the shoe thing than she did over any of the other stupid things she said and did. And boy, did she say and do a lot of stupid things. She must, 'cause mommie wouldn't smack her that much if she weren't stupid.

She and her brothers came to this spot almost daily, to this empty lot in a quiet residential area. In the mid ‘60’s there was no garbage pickup in this town, so people who couldn’t get their trash to the dump – or just couldn’t be bothered with it – would drop their trash in the local empty lot. And if she looked hard enough, treasures could be found among the piles of refuse. Treasures like her beautiful jar of half-used cold cream. She felt rich with that jar in her hands…she felt like someone important.

Today, the only treasure revealed was her pearly jar – but the jar was a serious find, so she was happy. She smiled to herself, a smile that could be seen in her eyes, and wandered off, away from the dump area and back into the neighborhood to find someone to play with.

Eventually, she walked into a small group of kids, some her age, some older, playing in a yard, close to a carport. She watched, from the outskirts, like she usually did. Her pale eyes – eyes that one day, forty plus years in the future, someone she had a crush on would describe as aqua – missed nothing. Her hands clutched her treasure...holding it close to her...keeping it safe.

~to be continued~

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