“Ingrid, dear, can you throw another long on the fire? My ankles are freezing.” Grandmother, said with a shiver so violent that it nearly shook the dentures right out of her head.
Molly Henderson, was such a dramatic woman, never missing an opportunity to display her “talent” in theatrics.
Staking the fire with another dry log, Ingrid wondered if her husband’s Grandmother was so over done with her behavior because she was fishing for attention, or was it the many failed attempts at Broadway that made her try to redeem herself?
Stabbing the fire with a poker Ingrid asked, “Is this better, Grandmother?”
Molly, true to character, threw the shawl from her shoulders and leaned back in her old chair, her head to the side and her eyes closed, her tiny mouth hanging open. “I am roasting over here!”
Ingrid rolled her eyes reciting to herself the verses in I Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind, love is not provoked,”
“What’s that dear?” Molly slid open one glassy blue eye and peeked over at Ingrid. “Did you say you would love to have a smoke? Honey, those cancer sticks will kill you if you are not careful. Does Harvey know you have taken to smoking?”
She sat back up and pulled her shawl tightly around herself again, picking up the cup of tea beside her. She took a sip, her face drawn as if she were sucking a lemon before sticking out her tongue and gagging. “Nasty stuff!”
Ingrid set the poker down and prayed again, “Patience, Lord, patience.” Having never noticed the tiny pictures on Molly’s mantel she began to look at them, her eyes narrowing to slits as to bring the images into focus.
She hesitated for only a few short seconds before gingerly picking the row of images up in her hands. There were thirteen of them, painted in tiny gilded frames that looked, from a distance, like a train. Upon closer observation, Ingrid realized that what she had always believed to be a train was really art.
“Who, who made these?” Her voice was breathy with awe. The steady silence that greeted her made her turn around and face Molly.
Molly, for the first time, looked less flighty and fit for the stage, and more grounded. Her expression was that of a woman pulled away, back in time, far gone from the present moment. Even the slant of her face and the way the glow of the fire rounded her cheeks like a lover’s caress seemed to take the years away. She was stunning.
“Grandmother?” Ingrid took a step towards her but did not put the treasure down. “Are you alright?”
Molly smiled, her glassy blue eyes, now watered from tears and not time, smiled up at her. “I painted them, years ago, each little image capturing the tiniest of moments.”
Her hands reached for the images and Ingrid relinquished them to her, before dropping to her knees at her side. Molly said, “I learned back when I was your age, that the tiniest moments, those that seem over wrought with monotony, or seemingly misplaced and misused because of lack of order, are the moments that determine who we become. Each of these moments are like the cars of a train all packed with the “useless” stuff that carries us straight into our destines. They matter you know?”
“Yes,” Ingrid answered as she took the train from her husband’s grandmother’s hands carrying it back to the mantel, letting the wisdom of her moments with Molly sink in. Who was she becoming from this time spent with this older woman?
She startled as she felt a swat at her backside. Turning she saw Molly glaring at her.
“You are blocking the fire and I am freezing over here!”
Setting the images down, Ingrid laughed at the moment.