Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hanging Flowers

Piece of the Day:
“Peonies, gardener,” she said. “White peonies.”
Penelope had ordered the same flowers for every household’s child for the past thirty years of her life, never even thinking on what peculiar good luck it was that every household she served in that duration had a garden containing white peonies. At any rate, white peonies were never the defining feature of any house--for her, it was always the child.
Boy or girl, born or found, child or ward, she loved them all for the first five years of their lives and forever. She loved children always, and they had been more precious to her since her fateful eighteenth year of life, when a woeful miscarriage decided she would be unable to have any children of her own. So she dedicated her life to the happy task most high-society married couples denied themselves: She would raise children as a nanny--at least until age five, when she would be replaced by a tutor or governess. And with her husband’s passing overseas, she could imagine no happier way of spending her life.
Penelope accepted the basket of white peonies from the gardener, inhaling their sweet scent as she re-entered the house. With each new ache ailing her as she climbed the stairs, she loathed to come to terms with the fact that her retirement would soon be necessary, and that little Amelia Waltham, the dearest of all children, would be her last child.
The maid finished cleaning the nursery just as Penelope entered.
“Thank you for watching little Mia while I fetched her flowers,” Penelope said, giving the maid a peony.
“It is no trouble, ma’am,” the maid replied as she bobbed a curtsey and left the room.
Penelope approached the crib where baby Amelia slept, and wrapped the stems of the white peonies around the railing to adorn the small bed with beauty and fragrance. As she gazed down upon her small charge, her delicate first curled in dreaming, Penelope began to weep into her handkerchief. This child’s sweet face would be the last of her lifetime. And of all the children who made their impression on her heart, none of their hearts would remember her. She could not bear it--she could not think of retiring to live alone in quiet the rest of her days.
The master and mistress were out of town.
Penelope hastened to pack up a bag of garments and supplies, and with a gentle hand, took up the baby in her arms, and made their escape.
“You are my own, little Mia--now and always.”

Hanging flowers. I was working at the library while contemplating this prompt, and there are paper flowers hung for spring decoration. It made me think of hanging flowers, which made me think of the movie The Mask of Zorro, where they’re always talking about the flowers hung at Elena’s crib by her nanny.

Work in Progress:
I think this is where I can make my excuses for having no blog posts for two days. On the eleventh, I worked all day and into early morning the next, reading through and revising my fantasy novel. I don’t know what draft it is now; beyond the tenth, I’m positive. It’s something I do--and will go on doing, probably--every couple months or so until I manage to get it published. Yesterday, I was spending the day with my sister. Anyway, that means that this section will again contain an excerpt from my fantasy novel:

During the whole ride back to the Palace, the visit to Heocles’s smithy continued to run through Indra’s head, wondering what all that tracing and questioning was leading to for her new, custom-made sword. It all seemed pretty eccentric, but if everyone in the Palace used Heocles for their weapon needs, then he must have been good at his job. For the first time, she actually felt excited at the prospect of getting a new sword.
And once arriving at the Palace, she realized how much she would actually need it.
Jiten noticed Raydan and Indra approaching on their horses, and rushed up to meet them,
looking very grim. “Where have you been?” he demanded from Raydan, his voice severe. “One of those village raiders broke in, and the Prince is missing!”
Raydan immediately dismounted from the horse and took off to find Hiko. Indra did not wait for her orders; she beat Raydan to the Palace doors by riding her horse at a gallop to the front stairs, then jumped off and burst inside.

Distractions Used:
Will & Grace. And while I didn’t watch it while I was writing, the movie Penelope served to name the main character of today’s prompt.

Currently Reading:
Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi. I read through volume 15 while working at the library, and 16 through 24 weren’t there, so I decided to quit in favor of picking up one of my novels in queue. If not tomorrow, I’ll likely start reading more on Monday.

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