Deleted Member Posted January 4, 2021 Posted January 4, 2021 The blue of the sky pierced her hard in the chest, pushing out her breath and with it a sigh. No one noticed her contemplation as she strolled down the cobbles of the ancient hill, preserved for the tourists who liked to imagine following the footsteps of the great sisters and their forgotten brother. Perhaps she could have ventured further for her few hours of freedom. Maybe she was already far away. She had set off without a clear purpose and the sigh of her chest hinted at her own disappointment in the bones, which had brought her back only as far as the incline and stone she had been so fond of in her youth. The sun and cloudless sky had brought with them crowds of busy curiosity. Should she head to the green vastness beyond the cobbles? The light sprayed brighter before her and cast her gaze into the glass of a shop front. Her footsteps followed her stare into the shabby display of a charity shop. It stood out as separate. Like a misfit. Unlike the other windows: the cafes with their arrays of home cooked cakes and pastries salivating the passers by, pottery shops with trinkets to intrigue, the olde sweete shoppe promising paper bags of delight, or even the foisty aroma of the vintage clothing store, indulging the illusion of idiosyncrasies. No. This display was uninviting. And its interior was unsurprisingly void of visitors. A bell jangled to announce her arrival as she stepped into the shadows and out of the sun’s penetrating rays. The shop did not welcome her, nor did it seem too disturbed by her presence. It was tired and the dust had settled comfortably enough upon its offerings, which had been discarded and cast out probably long ago, surplus to requirements, or no longer pleasing to the eye. The desolate displays didn’t look like they were making much of an effort to rehome their wares. Her fingertips found themselves leaving a mark as she delicately brushed them across the heavy frosting of dust resting upon a closed book. She wondered how long it had been since a customer had crossed the threshold of this lonely place, let alone bought anything. The keeper of the forgotten did not interrupt the passing guest. He assumed she would wander in and out empty handed just like the many who had come before her and jangled the bell above the door. In. Out. So his tired bones and snow white hair remained tucked away behind the counter, unmoved upon a well worn leather chair. It did not take long for her to stumble upon the item which she did not even know she was looking for. Dust covered like it’s comrades and tucked away at the back of the shop, the magic of a purple hue on a lonely snowscape took her by surprise, pushing forth a little gasp from her silent mouth. The old man in the chair peered briefly from his book, unfamiliar with such reactions to the cast aways which he had rescued from the furnaces or landfill for so long. He watched as the girl glided with a sudden eagerness down the narrow aisle towards the back of the shop towards they object of her enticement. The painting was perched on the floor, too big for the shelves and too sad for the wall. Reaching her destination, she fell to her knees before the canvas. Her head tilted and the emerald of her eyes absorbed the sense of something. Sadness. An uneasy sense of unintended voyeurism burned behind the old man’s face as the scene he beheld took on an intimacy. The companionless woman was quite enchanted by the old painting. Transfixed. Completely unaware of the world around her and the gaze that had briefly fixed upon her. The grey eyes behind the counter returned to the worn pages of the tale in his book, the one he had read time after time, to permit the girl some privacy as she explored her find.