The hectic morning was full of firsts. Clara’s new job and Lucy’s new school; both began that day. Lucy gathered her backpack, and Clara grabbed her purse, keys and their jackets and whisked the two of them out the motel room door and headed toward Frank and Ida’s home in the back of the motel’s office.
The night had been draped in a deep fog, leaving the morning sparkling with ice crystals that hung in the air like shards of glass, and the trees were coated in a fur of frost. Walking with quick yet tiny baby steps to avoid slipping on the skim of ice left behind, they rushed through the kitchen door greeted by the smells Ida’s home cooked breakfast.
Pulling the dish towel draped off of her shoulder Ida wiped her hands, and instructed, “Come in! Come in! Lucy there’s a glass of cold milk waitin’ at the table for ya and Clara there’s fresh coffee in the pot.” and turned back to the stove, where a skillet of scrambled eggs cooked. She scraped and turned the eggs and monitored another pan where bacon sizzled and popped.
Lucy dropped her backpack at the door and skipped to the table, sat down and drank deep from the glass, then emerged with a grin and a white line of milk on her top lip. Clara set her bag down alongside Lucy’s and hung their coats on the hooks behind the door. She pulled a heavy McCoy brown stoneware mug off the shelf and poured her coffee, inhaling the deep rich smell of the fresh strong brew. “Thanks Ida. Boy, do I need this today. It’s so cold out there. Did you see all the frost in the trees? It’s just stunning!”
Ida’s face turned and with an approving, warm smile. “I did…oh my! You look so pretty this morning! You look all ready for your first day at the antique store with Mr. Atherton. Frank and I are so proud of you sweetie.” Clara returned the smile, thankful for the blessings Frank and Ida were to her and Lucy. In their short time in Spencer, they had made them feel like family, a belonging she’d never had in her life.
“Thanks Ida. I am ready. I’m really starting to feel like I’m getting things together. It’s the beginning of something better for Lucy and me.
”Can I help you with anything? Set the dishes? Get the food to the table?”
“Yes dear. The plates are on the table just need to be put in place. Here. Take the bacon and set it down since you’re headin’ that way.”
With her head tipped back she hollered, “Frank! Breakfast’s ready!”
Frank wobbled into the kitchen, and each took a place at the table. Ida bowed her head, raised her right hand to her forehead and began “In the name of the Father (paused briefly for the others to catch up) and the Son and the Holy Spirit”, and all followed, blessing themselves.
Then together, “Bless us oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, Amen” and while crossing themselves again, a hasty “FatherSonHolySpirit.”
Dishes of food were passed around with pleasant chatter between the adults and giggles from Lucy when Frank asked her if she’d like some brussels sprouts with her eggs or teased her about boys.
Clara tried to help with dishes and Ida gently scooted her away.
“Honey, put that down. I’ll take care of the dishes. Open that fridge and grab those lunches I made for both you girls.”
“Ida, thank you so much. That’s such a big help.
Lucy, come grab your lunch and put it in your backpack.
We’ve got to get outta here so I have time to drop you off at school and make it to work on time. I’m so excited! Are you excite Button?”
Lucy slid off her chair into a leap, clapped her hands and declared, “Yes! I am very excited Mommy! Let’s go let’s go!”
Beaming at her daughter she leaned in to Ida and muttered with a little laugh, “I guess she’s ready.”
Bags packed, and coats donned, Lucy bounced first to Ida and pecked her cheek, then to Frank, jumped into his arms, and snuggled into a hug, then ran back to the door with her mother and waved, “Bye Ida, bye Frank.”
Clara waved as she closed the door. They walked to the front of the building where the car was parked. With her head down listening intently to Lucy, she turned the corner and nearly collided with Shane.
Lucy slid around to hide behind Clara ”Mommy?”
He didn’t expect this abrupt encounter and stammered, “Clara….I….I….”
“Shane, I don’t have time for this. I’ve got things to do.” She skirted around him with an arm behind her guiding her daughter along. “Lucy, get in the car.” Without taking her eyes off of him, she moved around to the drivers side, got in. After starting the car she quickly backed out, then drove away.
With a broad smile, and a brightness in her voice that covered her anxiety and fear she said, “Let’s get you to school Luce.”
As soon as Lucy was out of the car, she grabbed her cell and called The Lakeshore to warn Frank and Ida that Shane was in town. Frank assured her he had not come inside and checked outside and told Clara he was gone.
She arrived at Bygone Antiques still rattled by Shane’s appearance. She jangled through the noisy front door, and when Nigel looked up he observed her wide-eyed, unnerved demeanor and quickly glided to the door to assist her.
“My dear, are you quite all right? You look rather unnerved.”
“I’ll be fine Mr. Atherton. Just saw someone I didn’t expect to see.”
“Do you need to sit down with a cup of tea?”
With a wan smile, she assured, “I think I just need to get to work.”
He ushered her into the back where a bank of antique school gym lockers served as a place to store her belongings and hang her coat.
“If I can store my lunch in your fridge, I’m ready to get started.”
Last time with ”Faith from Ruin” ~ Icy Persistence
Todays installment of “Faith from Ruin” is inspired by the photo prompt in The Darkroom at Our Write Side.