Inspiration can come from almost anywhere. All you have to do is open up your eyes and see. During our book club meeting I noticed one of the purses (pictured above) of one of the gals at the meeting. It reminded me of a purse from the 1950’s or 1960’s. A story started to develop in my head.
Walking down the street Candice entered Granny’s Thrift Shop just for the fun of it. She wasn’t seeking anything to buy. She was saving for retirement and careful about spending money. Even though retirement was in about ten years she couldn’t help being frugal. She was amazed at the variety of items they gathered in such a small space. On a shelf next to a pair of shoes, a purse caught her eye.
She was drawn to it. Suddenly she was eight years old again.
“Momma, when are we going to the toy store?” Candice asked with a big smile on her face. “Soon, baby. You have to finish your breakfast before we can go.” Her mother stroked the top of her head. I finished as quickly as she could. They were going to the new toy store in town. It was the biggest one in three counties Momma said. I just couldn’t imagine how so many toys would fit in a store that big. “Let me grab my purse and clean your hands and we’ll be on our way.” I sat up front. Excitement filled every fiber in my being. Momma’s purse was right next to me. One day when I’m older, Momma said she would get me a purse just like hers. After Momma made sure I had my seat belt on, it was off to the toy store. Momma stopped the car at the light and looked at me. The smile on her face was stunning. It was the most beautiful face I had ever seen.
Candice picked up the purse. She had to have it. She checked the price tag and was heartbroken that she didn’t have enough money to purchase it. She held it in hands as if she was holding on to a priceless jewel.
“Look, Candy girl. See the store up ahead?” Momma said with a smile. Before I could answer, my world was forever changed. As momma stepped on the gas another car came from the left and rammed into the driver’s side door.
Holding the purse tightly, she walked to the cashier. She tried not cry, but a tear fell from her eye and rolled down her cheek. “Excuse me.” She said as she cleared her throat. Taking a deep breath she continued, “I was wondering if you could hold this purse for me until next week. I don’t have enough right now, but I can give you a partial payment.”
The old woman behind the counter took one look into Candice’s eyes and asked, “Oh, my dear. What’s the matter?”
“I . . . I . . . this purse reminds me of my mother. She had one just like it.”
“Is she no longer with you?”
I remembered being in the hospital, holding on to mother’s purse with a bruise around my waist where the seat belt was fasten. I couldn’t get the image of mother’s bloodied body from my mind. Momma didn’t move. Her head had cracked the windshield. My world had stopped. I tried to scream for help but no sound came out. I didn’t speak for weeks. I just held on to her purse.
“No. She died when I was little. My aunt came over to help pack away my mother’s things . . . and this purse . . . it was taken by mistake.”
The old woman placed her hand on top of Candice’s. “It’s okay honey. You’re the only one who has ever shown any interest in that old thing. You would be doing me a favor if you took it off my hands.”
Now the tears flowed freely. The kindness of this stranger touched her deeply. She managed to say, “Thank you.”
© Nadine Zawacki 2009