White Candy Story Time
She"d started dreaming of having white picket fences at six, at her grandparents" country home. Their house seemed magical, secluded, quiet. She married the owner of a butcher shop located squarely downtown. They occasionally considered moving, especially when the children were small, but it never happened. Their finances were always just short of allowing the luxury of a move. Ella eventually stored the idea away in the corners of her heart, like childhood toys in the attic.
At 68, Oliver"s health forced him into retirement. Having him home was like having a tiger in a cage, then forgetting to close the cage door. "How about sailing?" Ella suggested. When that got Oliver"s negative grunt, she tried,"Painting? Reading?" To each"no", she tried another idea until she ran out.
"My dream was my shop," Oliver grumbled, flipping through TV channels."There"s nothing on. What am I to do El?"
El remembered the day their youngest left the house, knowing that feeling of floundering."I started volunteering when Paul left, and now I work at the literacy center." To his silence, she added,"Dreams change. Remember my white picket fence? I survived, and I love my life."
Oliver stirred his tea with a rock candy swizzle stick."I didn"t want this, El. I"m a worker, not a volunteer." He picked up several yogurt raisins, popping them into his mouth. "Then do something nice for a neighbor, or one of the kids. You"ve wanted to do so many things, but haven"t had time. Now you do. Don"t waste it. Use it." She left, headed for the nearby elementary school. She often took the teachers chocolate candy sticks as a thank you for their hard work. She didn"t return home until late, running errands and grabbing the week"s groceries. She bustled in at almost dinner time.
"Oliver? I"m sorry I know it"s late, but "" She stopped.
Oliver stood in the living room, smiling."Here, my El," he said, holding a glass of tea towards her."I wanted to give you something you"ve wanted for a long time." He motioned around the room.
Along every wall was a white picket fence. Ella dropped the grocery bags, raising her hands to her mouth."Oh, Oliver!" she said."My fence! You made it!" She ran to Oliver, hugging him tightly."It"s perfect! Just like the life you built for me. Just like our life."
- by Debora Dyess