Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)
TITLE: Gone With the Wind
By Sally Hanan
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Mike was such a gentleman. I was not a lady - that’s why I still have his shirt! She stroked the checkered flannel as she draped it around her buxom torso. If only he could be as close as this.
The material didn’t drape far - Maggie was not what one would call petite. Despite her measuring 5’1”, her clothes were a size 20. Her tailor was a busy woman.
Maggie stood once again in Susan’s cramped family room, this time getting Mike’s shirt tailored to fit her. She had quite the collection at this point. Susan knew every name, every detail of Maggie’s love life. It was not that she wanted to know any of it, but the talkers of this world tend to conveniently dump their life history on one as quiet as Susan. This time however, Susan had had enough. She moved behind Maggie so that she didn’t have to look at her, and pulled on the fabric.
“ Maggie, why do you do this?” she mumbled breathlessly around the metal pins filling her mouth.
“Drag out everything when a boyfriend is obviously gone. Why do you obsess about his smell, the things he said or didn’t say, the places you visited with him?” Susan then trembled, afraid she had said too much.
Maggie exhaled deeply. “You know what, I clean forgot that I had to run by the pharmacy before they close. I’m sorry Susan, we’ll have to reschedule, maybe next Tuesday?” She ran out the door, the faint whiff of “Gone with the Wind” trailing behind her as Susan stooped to rub her leg - where a falling pin had landed.
Maggie’s back held up the inside of her apartment door, her mind awhirl with emotions. She didn’t understand why, but she began to cry. Desperate to find something that would make her happy again she walked into her spare room. Box after box was pulled out and its contents rummaged through. Shirt after shirt was wrapped around her … She smelt, she touched, she searched until there was nothing left to search through, and then Maggie cried all over again.
Gwyneth, Maggie needs your prayers.
Gwyneth was sitting in her living room, watching the news, when He called her name. Putting her china teacup back on its saucer with the slight tremor of old age, she bowed her head and clasped her gnarled hands together.
“Dear Lord, thank-you for bringing my dear grand-daughter, Maggie, to mind today. I feel that she is in trouble Lord, and I pray that it is You at work in her heart. I pray, as always, that You would open her eyes and her ears to Your truth. Bring her to the end of herself, so that she can find the beginning of You. Amen.”
She went on to pray for some other names and faces as they came to her mind, and then, smiling in absolute trust, Gwyneth leaned back in her armchair to catch the end of the news.
A heavenly messenger was sent to Maggie’s apartment to whisper in her ear. Your grandma would know. She always understood you, even when you didn’t.
Three hours later Gwyneth’s doorbell rang. Standing on the doorstep was Maggie, Mike’s shirt still on her, her eyes squinting and red. Not surprised at all to see her, Gwyneth’s arms opened wide and Maggie stepped into them. After a few loving minutes her grandma sat her down with the cat.
"I'm going to switch on your electric blanket and make some tea." Lord, open her eyes and ears to the truth.
Maggie smelt the fragrance of chamomile wafting from the kitchen. It was the smell of comfort, the smell of calmness, yet something was marring its beauty. She knew immediately who the culprit was, and she knew immediately what she was about to do.
She removed the shirt as she walked through the kitchen and out the back door, revealing a hot, vibrant mix of undershirt colors that shouted out her personality. The wind had started up a bit. Maggie wrapped the shirt collar around the clothesline and pegged it fast. The wind whipped through the shirt weave, pushing out the last wisp of Mike’s fragrance.
Maggie turned and walked back into the kitchen...
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