WIP- Ophelia deals with life, love and what-not.
|"O-O-Ophelia. How ya feelin' O-Phelia? da-da da-da-da...."
Ophelia sang and hummed to herself as she continued cleaning out the dusty, musty, cob-webby attic of her mother's home. It was the place her mother was born, had lived...and died. Momma would sing the little ditty and dance a funny jig whenever Ophelia was sad and, without a doubt, it would bring a smile to her face.
Ophelia knelt down next to a beautifully carved cedar chest. She ran her hands across the smooth patina of the chest, worn smooth with time. Grampa Teddy made it for Momma's tenth birthday. He had lovingly carved two lovebirds surrounded by a heart of ivy and roses. Momma's name and birthdate were inscribed 'Ivy Rose April 5, 1947'. Smiling, Ophelia raised the lid. Late afternoon sunlight from the nearby window illuminated a ribbon-tied bundle of photographs that lay atop quilts, linens and an array of long-hidden treasures.
The first photo was a small faded black-and white image of her mother as a child. Even at three years old, you could tell that Ivy Rose would be as beautiful and feminine as her name. The family resemblance was unmistakable. Ophelia shared the same slightly upturned snubby nose and deer-in-the-headlights eyes. Even their perfectly pouty lips and little dimple in the left cheek were practically identical. The only thing Ophelia didn't like was the fact that her face was covered with freckles. She wouldn't have minded a few freckles placed adorably on the apples of her cheeks. But apparently, as Momma often told her, those angels got carried away with kissing her beautiful little baby face.
"You were so beautiful, Momma. Look at those beautiful golden copper waves. I loved your hair. I will always remember how you let me put in all those ribbons and barrettes. And your eyes... they were such a steely gray when you were angry, like a storm. When you were happy, they were like a dancing stream, glistening and changing in the light. I have the same eyes. " Wiping the tears from her cheeks, Ophelia held the photo to her heart before placing it back in the hope chest. "It's been over a year, Momma. I miss you so much. When will it stop hurting?"
Ophelia paused for a moment with mumbled words of a prayer slipping past her trembling lips. She learned as a child to always say a prayer when she felt overwhelmed. Momma always said "It will help you find center, baby girl. Pray and give your cares over to the Lord. He'll help you make it."
After calming her emotions, Ophelia continued to search the chest. She knew Momma had kept all kinds of treasures in here. She wanted to find the letters. Momma had written many letters of wisdom to pass on to her child. When Momma became ill, she told Ophelia where they were. "Now, baby girl, I wrote these letters for you to open in case there came a time I wasn't around to answer your questions. When you need them, you will know where to find them." Of course, Ophelia refused to think of the day that Momma would be gone. But that day did come. It came before she was ready.
Ophelia lifted out a lovely patchwork quilt. She vaguely remembered Momma saying that it was a wedding gift from a dear lady at the church. She laid it aside making a mental note to have it cleaned. She would hang it in the guest room. Continuing to search through the chest she found a ragdoll with no face, a small partially finished needlepoint of roses, and a book of poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, with the inscription "If thou must love me, let it be for naught except for love's sake only. Yours for Love's Eternity- Alexander" Momma loved this book from Papa. Then she found what she had been looking for.
You are the most precious gift I could ever recieve. I love you my dearest Ophelia. Baby girl, I don't know what life will hold for you, or any of us. But I do know this, you were not meant to have an ordinary life...
Ophelia gathered the rest of the letters. After having a light supper and a bubble bath, she curled up in her mother's favorite chair and read late into the night.
Ophelia sat at her desk drumming her fingers. Sighing heavily, she dropped her head to the desk and covered her head with her hands. Between her late night reading, early morning work schedule and that blasted computer...
"Hey, Pheli. What's going on?" The delicious Australian voice of the even more delicious Ransom St. John interrupted her thoughts.
Great! I must look a hot mess! Ophelia thought before lifting her head and smiling brightly at "Handsome Ransom", as he was known to the ladies around the office. Pushing her hair off her face she replied,"Hi Ransom. I'm fine, I was just, umm.... having trouble with my computer here. It seems to want this day to end as much as I do."
"Yeah, I bet! Manic Mondays and all that right?" Ransom looked at Ophelia with a hint of something mysterious. A blush crept into her cheeks. This man unnerved her. "Well, look. There's only ten minutes left so why don't we knock off early? Want to go get a..."
"Uhh, n-no." she stammered. "I don't dri..."
"I know you don't drink . That's why I was going to say get an ice cream. But... if your busy, then I understand." Ransom turned as if to leave, hiding his smile and the glint in his eye.
"Ice cream? Sure, a girl could always use a scoop or two of chocolate chip cookie dough. Or maybe three. That is if your offer still stands?"
An hour later, Ophelia and Ransom sat in a 50's style diner, complete with a waitress named Flo. They had finished their ice cream and were laughing about how Suzette in Accounting would prance into the office and speak with this ridiculously phony French accent. The entire office knew Suzette had designs on Ransom. Ransom might have been Superman but Suzette was no Lois Lane. More like Cruella DeVil.
"'My fah-mee-lee is frohm Frahnce, Dahling." Ophelia mocked with a snort and cackle.
"And how about the way she flutters her eyelashes at me and says 'Allo, R-r-ransom. 'Ow are we today?' with that crazy purr." Ransom laughed so hard he had to hold his side."I always want to ask her if she has something stuck in her throat."
"Poor, poor Suzette. Maybe you should take her out for ice cream. Oooh, and when you get married- you can have an ice cream cake for your wedding..and..." Ophelia couldn't finish the scenario because she too had a fit of giggles and side stitches. It felt so good to laugh. It had been a while.
As they dabbed the wetness from there eyes and took deep breathes, the jukebox began playing 'Love Me Tender'.
"Man, this is a great song, don't you think, Pheli?"
"Mmm. Yeah it is." Ophelia looked down out the window absently. Her eyes clouded over and tears began to form.
"Ophelia. Hey what is it? Why the tears?" Ransom looked at her with such tenderness. Of course he wouldn't know. Momma passed before they met.
"Nothing. Just memories, I guess." Ophelia sniffed and dabbed at her nose with her napkin. "I'm sorry. We were having such a good time and now here I am ruining it."
"This is Ransom your talking to. Your friend. What's bothering you?"
"My mother used to sing this song to me. She said it was her favorite Elvis song. She saw him on the Ed Sullivan show and after that she fancied herself in love with him. Along with the rest of the world." Ophelia wiped another tear away. "Momma was always singing to me. She had such a pretty voice, but, she's gone now."
"I didn't know about your mother. I'm sorry. It must be hard. How long has it been?"
"It's been a a little over a year. and she passed way too young. Anyway, I'm sorry Ransom. I still get so emotional."
Ransom reached across the table and turned Ophelia's face toward him. "Look at me. I'm as strong a shoulder as you'll ever find. You have always seemed to be a strong woman. I see the way you handle our difficult clients. But you don' t have to be afraid to show your feelings around me. I'm glad that you could share this part of your heart with me." Ransom held her hand in his and caressed it with his thumb.
"Thanks for understanding Ransom.
"I've been wanting to say something for some time now. You are a beautiful, intelligent woman and"
"I..umm...I have to go. I'm sorry, Ransom. Thank you for the ice cream. I'm sorry." Ophelia scooted out of the booth and rushed out the door.