Monday, October 23, 2023

Please Don't Judge Millie Too Harshly

Please Don't Judge Millie Too Harshly

Please don't judge Millie too harshly. She was, when young, a plain-faced girl with mousy hair and thick glasses. He was young, too. Although neither plain-faced, mousy, or near-sighted. He was an athlete and a popular one in their small hometown. Millie was more than glad to let him in. Then he let himself out and Millie was more the big sister of their child as her parents raised them both. The child grew into a young man much like his dad only better in all regards although 'father' might be more apt. Kids know their dads.

Please don't judge Millie too harshly. As years later she stands in a bookstore looking for the perfect Christmas gift. She never connected with her son and when her folks died she withdrew all the more. From him, from everyone and thing. The skin of her plain face creased around her eyes and lips, her mousy hair held tinges of grey not silver, and her eyes were all the weaker. The book, never mind the title, was the perfect gift for her mainly estranged son. Especially the third paragraph on page 238. She could not have said it better herself and her eyes watered as she read it a fourth time there in the store. Perfect.

Please don't judge Millie too harshly. At the checkout, she sees a bookmark and with a sense of divine intervention a loving guiding hand, adds it to her total and writes a check. In her car, through still blurry eyes, she writes on the bookmark Wishing you a wonderful year a very Merry She tucks it into page 238. She does not want to deliver it in person so she drops it at the post office on her way home instead of taking the 14-minute drive. She imagines he'd appreciate the doorbell not ringing right at near dinner time just when his wife got the kids to the table.

Please don't judge Millie too harshly. When she never heard news of his receiving the book, the bookmark, or his thoughts on page 200-something which fully explained her figurative heart, her immense love, her literal heart at last gave out. She was never a very robust thing and she died in her apartment under a half-crocheted afghan, quite large tabby, and 65-watt hurricane lamp. Her son cleaned out her apartment and with that cleaning bug bite, bit his own house. He paused at the dusty book and the bookmark and opened to a page at about a third way in. The bookmark was white on the back and he read the message. On the front were snowy white birch trees.

Please don't judge Millie too harshly. But for all she didn't do, he could not bring himself to further investigate the page. He thought of days alone by the TV, and bowls of cereal he poured himself. Only smiled at the thought of Grandma's cooking and Grandpa's fishing trips. The book, never mind the title, was slammed softly closed, tossed into a box for donating when his wife reminded him to hurry along. He hurried along. This man whose mom loved him so. But what is love? Now the book is on my shelf and the bookmark is beside me as I type this.

Snowy birches and Millie's dusty bones have much in common in that neither speaks a word.

::: very :::

Based on a True Ephemera is a Kaplowitz Media. Original Fiction series (of which this is part) of short stories based on the messages found on old postcards, greeting cards, and bookmarks--the likeliest of ephemera to bear personal written messages--that happen under my gaze or into my possession. Think of the quick little heart-felt jottings of yesteryear and the stories behind them... on second thought, I'll handle the stories. All are completely fictionalized and replete with names changed to protect the innocent.

For more Kaplowitz Media. Original Fiction go HERE