Hey, where’d everybody go? There were only four of us (two from this general writing area…) who posted on the Write Now! prompt from Tuesday. C’mon! I know you all have some ideas that you are hoarding. Here is my submission for today’s prompt, which is kinda neat: “the backyard gardener stopped as his shovel struck something solid.”
I call this one “Miracle:”
Melissa’s parents could, in no uncertain terms, be called wealthy. Their home was a sprawling estate–Melissa, at five years of age, had two show ponies–and the whole place was abuzz with hired help. Melissa had personal tutors; none of the area’s private institutions met her father’s educational standard (he came from a long line of Yale men, after all) and her mother doted on her too much for distant boarding schools to be considered. In between lessons, riding, piano, recitals, and daily mass, Melissa filled her imagination by inventing stories about the various workers; other than the tutors, she rarely had contact with but a few of the many people who worked to keep their lives comfortable.
Francesca did the windows, fine china, silver and glassware, while a platoon of women worked under her direction to dust, wash, clean, vacuum, serve, and generally make the place presentable for those few other wealthy business partners and socialites who regularly visited. Francesca’s husband Antony was in charge of the outdoor squadron: they cared for the stables, kept the pools clean, mowed grass and trimmed hedges, washed cars, and planted trees, which was the major current event out back. Melissa felt that there was something wrong, that the workers should not work in bad weather, or at night (other than the night shift of the security regimen), or Saturday and Sunday (not everyone worked seven days, but she knew that Francesca and Antony did because they lived on the grounds).
It was raining outside the upstairs library window and Melissa had camped out to watch Antony and two other men complete their work on a stand of trees. It was Saturday and the weather had kept her from having to ride, which gave her about an hour before piano lessons. She had wanted to go help with the trees, but her mother feared for her safety and her father forbid her from doing anything he deemed to be “beneath her;” she she struggled to understand how helping with trees could be beneath her, since the saplings were easily twice her height.
As she pondered, the rain began to slow and a rainbow appeared. Melissa was delighted and pressed closer to the glass to get a better look. The bottom of the rainbow rested exactly where the men were working. As Melissa watched, the backyard gardener stopped as his shovel struck something solid. She saw him call to Antony, who took the shovel and moved some dirt around in the hole. All three men looked at each other, in unison fell to the ground, and began throwing wet earth with their bare hands. Melissa wiped the window with her sleeve, having gotten close enough to it to fog it with her breath. She thought the rainbow seemed brighter and watched with amazement as the men lifted an impossibly ancient-looking box from the bottom of the hand-cleared pit.
Satisfied, Melissa climbed down at the sound of her piano teacher’s voice. She hugged the woman who cleaned her room as she skipped toward the stairs and also hugged Francesca as she cut through the kitchen on her way to her lesson. She found it hard to play as she pretended not to hear the shouts from her father as Antony, Francesca, and a number of their friends and family who also worked there tendered their immediate resignations.