something i've started...need to know if i should continue...your thoughts please :)
Kira knew it the minute she saw it! Finally, after traveling to see what seemed like hundreds of houses and lodges, condo and cabins: she found HER place! A stone cottage tucked into the arm of the mountain at the end of a drive that was little more than a two-track. It was over 100 years old the agent assured her, but it had been updated to include running water, heat and electricity. A perfect stone cottage embraced by ivy and perfumed by climbing roses.
A storybook cottage, secluded and within walking distance to creeks (cricks she was told) and runs which was the local word for streams, surrounded by an overgrown garden that was a confused riot of daisies, black-eyed-Susan’s, cosmos, lilies and roses, hundreds of roses- each bloom more exquisite than the last. Creamy yellows sweet-talking to blushing pinks. Deep magentas whispering secrets to unblemished whites. Each blossom seeking to add its scent to the breeze that wafted down the ridge.
A quick look inside and they were off to sign the papers in the agent’s office. She didn't quibble about the price: she didn’t ask any of the questions one always should ask. She wanted it: pure and simple and well, if the well fell in or the fireplace needed work, she’d figure it out. It was now hers and she couldn’t wait to settle in. Happily it was sold to her partially furnished and as she had very few personal possessions any more, it was a short time before she was ready to move into her new home.
Vaguely, she remembered something the agent said about the previous owners, but that faint memory vanished as she nearly drove off the road avoiding two does and a buck that seemed confused as to what was woods and what was not!
She loved the fact that it was only a short distance away from the remains of an old stone homestead: looked like castle ruin to her imagination. It would be a fun place to explore some day soon, but now all she wanted to do was get to her new old cottage!
No modern key locked the door, but instead, an old wrought iron skeleton key which, according to the agent, she’d probably never feel the need to use. Lattice-worked windows were hung with heavy scarlet draperies that, once upon a time, were velvet. Dark cherry wood lined the small living room that was dwarfed by the stone fireplace. Gleaming brass andirons held twigs and wood as if inviting her to light a fire.
The stairs, carpeted in deep red sink-to-your-ankles type carpeting, led to a loft bedroom dominated by an absolutely huge canopied bed.
Dropping her bags near the small closet, and kicking off her shoes, she padded barefoot back downstairs, poked her head into the small, but serviceable kitchen for a brief moment on her way to the bathroom.
Almost larger than the kitchen, the bathroom contained a large claw-footed bathtub painted with flowers all around the outside. Tiny cross-hatched windows were curtained only in the ivy that hung off the roof. Catching a glimpse of her self in the large mirror propped up on the vanity that seemed perfectly at home in this lovely room, Kira stopped and smiled.
Hair chopped too short, curls all every which way, a smudge of dust smeared across a nose she’d always thought of as her dad’s, a smile which was now threatening to break in to sheer laughter and her eyes, which were what had made her pause in the first place.
Forget windows to the soul. Her grandmother had called them ‘headlines.’ She had always said that if a person had a whit of sense about them and even a modicum of caring, that all they had to do was look at Kira to know her every thought and emotion. What her eyes did was change colors.
No mere hazel depending upon the light, rather they changed from startling emerald green when she’s happy to golden-brown velvet when she concentrated to deep raging purple when she was scared or angry. The eyes sparkling back at her today from the ancient mirror were as green as a new spring leaf on a maple tree. Smearing the dust off, or in, with the heel of her hand, she shook her head at her mirrored image and left the room.
Back down the hallway into the stone-floored summer room that was windowed on three walls. Standing there, looking at her old schoolmaster’s desk she’d shoved and pushed into one corner, she could see her computer living there happily. Between the front corner windows, was an overstuffed easy chair, upholstered in flowery chintz that looked out at the ancient weeping willow that dwarfed the entire cottage.
In the living room, Kira noticed the window seat caught in slanted beams of the afternoon sun and the thought of curling there with a good book made her smile. Her books! The bookcases lined much of the available wall space and were empty; just waiting to embrace her collection. She walked out to the car and grabbed the two boxes of books that were an integral part of her.
Plopping down on the floor, she opened the first box and began placing the books on the shelves. Her well worn Complete Shakespeare, her collection of Clive Cussler, Anne Rice, the two cherished volumes of The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo, Keats, Shaw, Mandino, and Bertrice Small. John Donne nestled next to Washington Irving. Books of Narnia and Pern alone took up a shelf.
Volumes of Mark Twain’s essays, Richard Arnold’s poetry and her ancient Harold and the Purple Crayon were held in place by a large piece of emerald beryl she’d picked up on a wander a few years back. Books of castles, fairy tales, and poetry shared a shelf with her Nora Roberts collection. Bestsellers by her most beloved authors were ensconced between carved dragon bookends on yet another shelf. Thoreau, Dr Suess, Annie Proulx, Ayn Rand and Karen Bush hodge-podged together in an eclectic mix of styles and ideologies on the lone shelf built into the window seat. Her own recent work took up the shelves on one side of the fireplace.
Satisfied that each was in its spot, she headed out to unpack the rest of the car and the small travel-trailer hooked behind. Four hours later, she was finished unpacking. She found it interesting that all of her prized possessions could be unpacked in such a small amount of time. It was not that she chose few things to keep (which was true,)but that each was imbued with such memories.
Most of the time was spent lost in daydreams launched by the handling of a leather bound book of love poems given by a former lover, or her artwork now scattered upon convenient nails. Times past brought alive once more in the touch of a satin nightgown from the twenties, or the garnet glass figurines which were now catching the last of the afternoon sun. Her Grandmother’s Grandfather’s trunk was at the foot of the canopied bed which was now made and covered in her patch-worked duvet. Her feather pillows fluffed and inviting in their softly worn cotton slips leaned against the black walnut headboard.
She was home as she had never been before. There was an aura here, in her stone cottage, which bespoke of something wonderful: of unrealized magic about to occur, of dreams to come and of a sense of impending excitement. It was a Christmas Eve sort of feeling in mid summer. Wandering the garden, she filled her arms with fragrant blossoms to put in the old blue and white pitcher with the cracked spout she’d found waiting in the kitchen window. On her way back to the kitchen door, she stopped: mesmerized.
The sun, nearly behind the low lying hills, was setting in a fiery blast of orange and scarlet that turned the trees to molten gold and then to silhouettes. For a moment she thought she heard something on the breeze....Vivaldi? No. The skirl of a bagpipe? Too faint to pin down and then it was gone. It must have been her imagination. No one lived within a mile of her and the CD player was still unplugged in the summer room. Shaking her head, she headed indoors as the last of the glowing day faded beyond the mountain, the first stars pricked the sky and her cellphone began ringing.