Company was coming, so things that are often neglected got cleaned at our house. My nicknack box with lots of small slots is tedious to dust. So are the little figurines that fill it. I carried them to the kitchen sink to give them a quick dip and rinse, and that’s when I realized how many of them are broken.
My mom bought me the nicknack of a small elephant with big ears like Dumbo and a thin trunk held up to say hello. Trouble is, the elephant only has half a trunk now. Nate was helping me when he was little. He was thrilled to be able to handle each fragile piece. The trunk, unfortunately, was TOO fragile. It didn’t survive an excited boy. I should have pitched the elephant, but every time I look at it, I remember that day. So it still sits in its small space in the lower left corner of the shadow box.
My husband bought me a collection of mice figurines. One’s a mother mouse rocking a cradle with her baby inside it, another’s a mouse cooking at an old-fashioned black stove, there’s a tooth fairy mouse, etc. Ty was helping me clean these. He put them in a bowl of warm water to get them extra shiny. The glue that held the cradle on the painted “rag rug” melted. I tried gluing the pieces back together, with no luck. Now, I rinse them separately and balance them back in place–no one the wiser.
In my office, the clock master on a bookshelf, busy at his work table, only has half an arm. A rabbit has a chipped ear. For me, the chips and imperfections don’t detract one bit from each piece’s beauty. Our living room ceiling has a small, round hole in it where Nate experimented with a rocket propelled by a tire pump. The rocket worked. Our ceiling suffered. In some odd way, I’m almost more fond of it now.
And just like my nicknacks and ceiling, the bumps in my life, though unwelcome at the time, have taken me in directions I’d have never explored on my own. The same goes with my writing. When an editor I’d sent a mystery manuscript to said, “I don’t do mysteries anymore. I’m over paranormal romances now. Do you have one to send me?”–I didn’t even know what a paranormal romance was. But I replied, “If you tell me what it is, I’ll try to write it.” She sent me a list, bless her. I didn’t get it right the first time, but I was closer on my second attempt. On the third try, she wanted to buy it, but by then, she was ready to move on herself. Everything fell through, but I was hooked on writing about witches and werewolves, goddesses and gargoyles. It’s not what I planned to do. I won’t be the world’s next Agatha Christie, as I intended, but life, as usual, suprised me. The dream of being a writer is still there, just a little chipped and glued back together.