Dolores shuffled into her well worn slippers. It was a cold morning and she didn’t really want to leave the house, but she had checked the mail every morning, rain or shine, for twenty years, and she wasn’t willing to break routine for such a small thing as a light frost. Clutching her flannel jacket around her shoulders, she dashed through the garden to her mail box. There were five, two from her children and a few promotional letters inviting her to try new health regimes. With an amused chuckle, Dolores pulled the letters out to peruse in the warmth of her kitchen. As she did, she noticed a slip of paper pushed into the back. Assuming it was a hasty note, perhaps from her friend Mary, Dolores added it to her bundle. Back in the warm kitchen, Dolores selected the crumpled note first, as she had not heard from any of her friends since last week’s hurricane. To her surprise, the slip contained not words, just a faint sketch of an elderly gentlemen. Wondering what Mary could mean by it, Dolores polished her wire-framed glasses before bending down to inspect it more closely. The man was dressed peculiarly, like one of characters from her beloved Jane Austen books. Unlike the beloved characters in them, this fellow seemed to be elderly, closer to her age than her daughter’s. His eyes were, to Dolores, the most intriguing part of his face. Large and pale, with thick but stubby lashes, they looked sad. Not the sort of sadness one sees in one who has just been injured, but a deep sort, the way dear late Mr. Jones had looked. Yet, Dolores noticed a faint smile on the man’s face. He stayed strong, he even exhibited joy, despite the great sadness of life. He would continue smiling even if Dolores lost her farm. Even if she lost all that was dear to her. Taking a sudden liking to this mysterious personage, whoever they might be, Dolores pinned him up on her wall.
An ancient comfort.
April 1, 2018