|The shop was empty, which surprised Clarissa, because the quality of the items arranged neatly on the shelves was clear. Jasmine jewelry with the glowing green of natural stone, no heat treatments. A pewter creamer that softly reflected Clarissa’s delighted smile and felt like butter on her fingertips. A spun-glass ballerina figurine, delicate tutu appearing to waver in the gift shop’s lightly perfumed air.
On a surprising whim, Clarissa spun lightly around, the shelves and gift items whirling in her vision. She felt like a ballerina herself. She stopped with a self-conscious blush. Thank goodness there were no other customers to witness her inexplicably theatrical behavior. There was only the salesgirl behind the counter who, Clarissa suddenly thought, looked awfully young to be running the shop alone. The girl regarded Clarissa from across the shop with pale blue eyes that reflected a summer sky streaked with brushes of white cloud. Clarissa forced herself to look away.
Clarissa’s eye caught the figure of a small bird, fashioned with what appeared to be real feathers and bright eyes of small shining stones. She crossed straight to the figure and stood before it, transfixed. She’d seen it before, a souvenir from her family’s trip to the redwoods the summer she turned 16. Clarissa felt the heat rise in her face. Next to the bird sat a shell glowing with pearl in its cupped interior, a keepsake from her honeymoon with Todd on the Cape. Clarissa looked up in quiet alarm and gazed more carefully around. There was the purple silk scarf presented by her grandmother on Clarissa’s 21st birthday.
Clarissa stood frozen in thought, then crossed to the salesgirl and stared into the girl’s transparent blue eyes. “You’re an angel, aren’t you?” she said.
“Yes,” the salesgirl smiled. “And so are you.”
(Word count: 299)