A Study in White with Dewdrops – by Jane Rockwell (Senior)

Meg awoke early, at first confused and disoriented, forgetting where she was. She had had difficulty sleeping – up and down, wandering around the house, trying to read, nibbling on crackers. Finally, she went to the screened porch and settled into the hammock. The air was slightly damp. She stared at a streetlight, counted backward from one hundred, getting to sixty-seven.
She woke to a sweet breath on the air that she thought she had dreamed. A dream of a river, a small boat – alone, drifting, the sunlight patchy and comforting. She didn’t remember where she ended up or if the boat just continued on and on, with herself in a sleepy, contented reverie. She got out of the hammock and stepped into the yard, following the sweet scent that wasn’t a dream.
Near an unsightly, overgrown juniper, a gardenia bush was beginning to bloom. It surprised her. Meg had tried to shield herself from spring and all its splendor. A month ago, she was shocked and angered by the dogwoods lining the streets. Their showy pinks and whites were an affront to her. Out of step with the season and those around her, she avoided walks and garden centers. Feeling a sadness she could not name, she was at times lethargic; at times, restless.
Now, in the gently unfolding morning, a single gardenia bloom drew her near. Looking closely, she noticed how drops of dew stood so still on the white petals and on one of the dark leaves. They were like clear pearls that held something eternal, something of the river, something of herself.
Sometimes there is a single beautiful thing: a black cat sitting beneath a white window shade – a study in black and white. Or driving down the same old road, you spot a strand of Christmas lights across the porch of an unpainted farmhouse – lovely in its testament to joy. You are stirred to gratitude. It is perfect, complete, holding all you need. Meg had experienced such things. And forgotten them. Now there is the gardenia.

Learn more about the author:

Jane Rockwell

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-04

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