shopping for a gift, I find a gift and more.
|Today had been a good day. It was payday, a Friday and the weekend was just starting. The only thing I need to do was find the right gift for my daughter, Kara, for her birthday. Kara was turning twenty-three. I had been looking for a couple of weeks off and on for just the right thing. Kara is easy to please; perhaps that is why it felt so important to get her something special.
That was my focus as I left work. I decided to check out some of the little shops near where I work. I thought, maybe I could find something in one of the little shops. I was almost out of options as I hit the last of the four main roads in the small town, when a strange little shop caught my eye. The windows had a few crystal wind chimes hanging in them and an open sign. Walking through the door, I noticed the name, “The Curiosity Shop,” so hopefully, I could find the right thing.
Right away, I saw the table with a teapot in the shape of a dragon. It was perfect, exactly what I had been looking for. When I moved closer to the table, a large gray cat caught my eye. It looked like a statue except that its tail was constantly twitching. Its yellow green eyes seemed to stare right through me. In fact, I turned to try seeing what it was staring at; I was the only thing in that direction. Sharply I shook myself, remembering Kara, and I knew that I had to get the teapot.
The Teapot was unique. It seemed to be metal, though I had never seen metalwork like this. The metal was black with a hint of copper. The pot portion was the dragon’s coils, the lid was on the top on the main coil just behind the head and a tail came up from the opposite side to create a very thick handle. The eyes stared up and forward, and the nostrils were where the steam escaped. The spout was the mouth. Even though this was decorative, it was usable.
Satisfied that I found the right gift I headed to the counter. As I approached, the cat hissed and a voice from behind the counter said, “Now, you hush, that old teapot is getting ready to leave here." Then shopkeeper, stood up. “Don’t mind the cat, it’s not liked that teapot since I got it a week ago. “ I must have given her a perplexed look, since she continued to explain. “Oh, don’t you worry though, that pot’s doesn’t have one thing wrong with it. I’m Alice, and you are?”
“I’m Lee; it’s nice to meet you. This is an interesting place you have.” By this time, I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. I set the teapot down. The cat decided that it liked me, because it had jumped down off the counter and rubbed up against my legs purring. This had a calming effect on me. I leaned over and stroked the cat’s soft coat, satisfied it jumped back up on the counter far away from the pot, and lay down.
Alice pushed her large glasses up on her face and made a face I recognized as a look of knowing.
“Lee, do you like bracelets? I have one here I think you should see. It practically calls your name; just give me a minute to find it.”
To be truthful, I was a bit uneasy about this. It had the feel of a sales pitch. I really had not come in here for that, so I was all set to protest, until she turned back around with a delicate little charm bracelet with three charms. Each charm seemed to be some sort of symbol though I was not sure of the origin of them. “Wow, I cannot afford that. It’s beautiful.”
Alice’s face lit up, “Oh now don’t be ridiculous, it’s only a little charm bracelet. I think you should get this, after all how often do you do anything for yourself?”
“Well, let me see how much the teapot is first. Then If I have enough, I will get it. You know, presents first.“ The dragon teapot was only ten dollars; I was pleasantly pleased with the price.
“This bracelet has been in my shop for a very long time. I think you’re the one that should have this.”
“I’m afraid I might break it, it’s sort of delicate.”
“Not as much as you would think.”
“Well, how much is it and what are the symbols?”
“The charms represent everything you would ever need, though I am not sure what the words actually are for each of them. The cost well, this is going to sound strange I’m sure. I just need to be sure you really want this bracelet, first.”
“I would like love it, would you be willing to hold it for me?”
“If you’re sure, hold out your wrist.”
I held out my wrist, and she placed the bracelet on my arm. When she did the bracelet grew, winding up my arm and down the other and as quickly as it happened the bracelet faded disappearing into my skin. I gasp as the sensations faded and looked down to see the bracelet on my wrist, as if I had imagined the whole thing. My mind wrote off the sensations as some sort of chill. “I don’t understand?”
“The bracelet is a part of you, something that you have lacked, you will never need again.” Then she rang up the dragon shaped teapot and I left quickly.
When I got home, I wrapped the gift and went to my bedroom. I tried to remove the bracelet, and it felt like I was trying to peel off my skin. Feeling a little bit afraid, I said a quick prayer. What I needed now was to calm down. As quickly, as I thought it a soothing vibration started from the area of the bracelet and spread over my body. Taking deep breaths, I decided I would just let it be and see what happened. I decided to call it a day and went on to bed. My imagination must have run away with me.
The next morning, I woke up and felt more refreshed than ever. The bracelet seemed to be nothing more than an ordinary bracelet that morning. I showered and wished I had a big doughnut, no big doughnut appeared, with no wishes granted, I felt much better and I left the bracelet on my wrist alone.
The day of the birthday party finally arrived, and it reminded me of the bracelet. I had not really noticed anything different about my life, since I got the bracelet. Kara opened her gifts. She loved them; the teapot seemed to be the main topic of conversation. She noticed the bracelet, and let me know she really liked it; however, she was the only one of the family that seemed to notice the bracelet.
The next morning Kara called to let me know that when the teapot boiled the eyes light up red. She absolutely loved it and thanked me again. After some chitchat, the conversation ended on a high note. I let her know I had a checkup at the doctor the next day. One that I had been regretting going to. The doctor had told me I had to lose weight several visits before and now we were checking my progress. This was a constant battle for me. I knew I needed to I just didn’t seem able to do so.
The next morning when I got up my pants were a little loose. I had to dig for a belt; I didn’t think much about it until I stepped on the scale at the Doctors office. I had taken off fifteen pounds. I was half way to the size he had asked me to get too. He was pleased with my progress, and wanted to see me back in another Month to see if I had continued my progress.
I called my daughter to tell her the wonderful news. She was as excited as I was about the weight I had lost. We talked about the possibility of me joining a gym. I figured it might help, if I did not chicken out. When I arrived at the gym, I almost got back in the car. Somehow, I had the courage I needed to walk in the door and go through the routine they setup. Maybe I was just being silly, but something brought to mind the bracelet as I worked out. Could this be a product of the bracelet, the courage, and the weight loss too?
As the weeks continued, Kara and I went shopping to replace bits and pieces of my wardrobe. Working out at the gym became routine for me, and I met someone at the gym who had many of my interests and things seemed to be going good. Again, my mind strayed to the bracelet, could it be? My mind seemed to stray from the thought.
In the middle of the night about six months after I got the bracelet, something strange stirred inside me. I woke up as my phone rang. I grabbed my phone off the headboard and answered quickly. Kara had been in an accident. I needed to be there and though I did not remember how, I got there in seconds. How could I help, she seemed almost lifeless lying there.
As if dawn had broken over me, the charm bracelet caught my eye. Without a second thought I wrenched the bracelet off my wrist, the pain that it caused made me fall to my knees. I quickly fastened the bracelet to her wrist. Knowing as I did that her need was greater than mine. As the Emergency workers returned, they looked at both of us with a labored and sad expression. I knew that they were going to tell me her chances were slim, when she turned and opened her eyes. “Mom, why are you here?”
I was never so glad to hear a voice in my entire life. “I am here to make sure you are OK.”
“I’m fine Mom, don’t worry.”
The emergency worker checked her again with an expression of wonder on his young face. “I think you should be checked again at the hospital.” He shook his head and headed to the chart they were working on for her and called in a correction to the hospital. “You are welcome to ride in the ambulance or follow.”
Looking around I did not see my car anywhere. I rode in the Ambulance with Kara, where a second person checked her. Then at the hospital, another check showed nothing wrong. I called my fiancée, the same one I met at the gym. While Kara and I waited for him to arrive, she looked down at her wrist and noticed the bracelet. Smiling she said, “These symbols represent love, need, and care. It was the bracelet wasn’t it?”
“I really don’t know. Nor do I care if you’re ok.” I said hugging her close to me.
When I let go, she had the bracelet in her hand, “This is yours.”
The next day I decided to go by and see Alice. I had to tell her about the bracelet. When I pulled onto the road, there was nothing but a vacant lot where the stop had been. I could not believe what I saw. I stopped at a gas station a block away and asked the attendant about the lot. It had been a store once about twenty years ago, the building burnt about ten years ago. As I climbed in the car to leave, I looked down at the bracelet in disbelief
Written for the Contest "Alice's Curiosity Shop"
Word Count: 1923, Items: Teapot in the shape of a Dragon, and A Charm Bracelet.