Whispers of the Heart

Listen carefully and the words will speak to you

possibly the beginning

     Sarah drove along route one realizing how different this trip home was going to be.  Coming home on spring break and a couple weeks each summer at the Grande Victorian home in this small coastal Maine town with her grandmother had been fun.  It had been six years since she had left and went to Dartmouth to college and so many things had changed.  This time she was coming home for a longer stay to spend the entire summer home making sure that things wer taken care of and all would be fine when she leaves in the fall.  The meeting at the lawyers had gone well, he stated that all assets would be transferred adn that she should check out the deeds and accounts the first couple of weeks home.
     Her thoughts drifted to how she ws going to now become the head or the estate over Emily, Michael and Jon.  Since age of twelve, they had been like parents and now she ws supoposed to be their boss, the irony made me laugh in amusement.
     Grandmothers' home was a three story well0kept Victorian with a widows peak that overlooked the ocean.  It's magnificent architecture boasted a wrap around porch with swings on both ends, perennial flower gardens that made adorned the lawns and a beautiful weeping willow sat in the front yard with a hammock underneath.  The rocky coast of Maine gave the property the perfect finishing touch.
     The house was a light mauve and ivory on the outside and you entered into a foyer of marble and slate with a cherry deacons bench and a closet that housed slippers for all visitors.  Grandmother took great pride in her hardwood floors and oriental rugs, no one was allowed to wak in with shoes on their feet.  Through the foyer was a large entryway that had doors to both sides' one lead into a parlor and the other into the den' ahead of you was a mrble spiral staircase to take you to the bedchambers and library.
     Don't you be sliding down the rail echoed in my head, how she knew what we wer planning to do before we even got to the stairs I never knew, but when she wasn't in the house David and I would both slide the banister and we kept it our secret.  There wasn't much you could keep from her' she was a very wise woman.  Those days of sliding the banister with David was a memory that Sarah missed greatly; she prayed for the day to come when they could once again slide together and then laugh about it.
     In the parlor Grandmother would entertain her guests, it had large windows and French doors leading out onto the porch overlooking the rocky coast.  In the den she had a cherry roo-top desk and a Steinway baby grand piano; the walls wer decorated with many famous pieces of art.  We used this room at the holidays and would sing carols while Grandmother played for us.
     Our Christmas tree would stand in front of the bay windows beautifully decorated in a Victorian fashion.  The lights wer always white, never flashing, beads strung gracefully over the branches with mauve bows accenting each loop and the remaining decorations wer all ivory, mauve, gold and burgundy.  The tree looked like it belonged in the mezzanine of Macy's; it did make its debut in some of the local newspapers, something we wer always proud of.
     The holidays wer a special time for all of us, festivities daily in the small town of Cherryfield, (my sorority sisters had not even heard of this town) and there would be Christmas caroling on Christmas Eve at teh Oceanside Inn every year followed by a fabulous fireworks display.  The innkeepers opened their Inn for Christmas Eve.  They had it beautifully decorated and traditionally served eggnog, furitcake and gingerbread.  It was a great time for all to share the spirit of Christmas.
     Time had been moving right along as Sarah's thoughts had drifted back to those earlier years in not time found she was pulling into the driveway.
     She stopped at the front stairs to unload the car before driving it into the breezeway.  As she got out of the car the staff me warmly greeted her.
     "Let me take your bags for you" stated Michael.
     "I'll go park your car for you" replied Jon.
     "Come in, relax and let me fix you a nice snack" said Emily.
     They wree all so eager to assist.  Surprisingly Desmond was not there.
     "Where is Desmond?" she asked.
     "He thought you needed to rest a night before he put you to work," replied Emily.
     "Oh, some things have not changed."
     We all chuckled.
     Desmond had quite the way of keeping you going during riding lessons.  He was a distinguished rider and handsome young man, you did not want to look weak or incompetent to him no matter how tired you were.  He had been riding since his early childhood days and now being a young man of 28, he was one of the finest dressage riders in the country.  He had a fine muscular build, worked out regularly at the gym, and rode daily.  His bronze tone skin against the pale tan riding outfit was satisfying to look at.  His sandy blonde hair and blue eyes were irresistible to most of his students; I think some took lessons from his must to watch him ride.
     My grandmother had adopted Desmond like a grandson and enjoyed his company since she was no longer able to play chess wih David.  Desmond was also a fine chess player and my grandmother welcomed the challenge of a game against him whenever possible.  David had loved to surf the waves and one day he didn't listen when he was todl that the tide was high and the undertow was fierce.  It dragged him under before any of us even knew he wa out there.  At first we thought he was playing games with us and hiding; then when he didn't come to lunch when called, we knew something was wrong.  Grandma called the coast guard and a couple hours later they found his body, so frail and colorless, we wern't sure if he wsa eevn gong to make it.  Daveid was a spry young lad, he loved to climb eht rocks at teh beach, surf the tide and look for ocean habitat when the tide went out.  Many an early morning you could hear him laughing as he ran through the water splashing and throwing crumpets to the gulls. Desmond reminded her of David in many ways.
     David did survive the accident, but not at not expense.  He was notw being cared for by our grandmother while he lay so still in a coma and paralyzed from the waist down.  It was hard to watch him just lie there, but my grandmother was certain that one day he would come to and possibly even walk again.  We all believed that it was this optimism that David somehow felt that did keep him alive and sometimes it even seemed as if he heard you when you spoke to him. 
     Grandma offered Desmond a job giving riding lessons at the stables.  She assured him he would have many students and would have alots of time for leisure also.  When Desmond decided to take the job, he was offered the use of the garden house to live in as part of his compensation.  Along with the house came the use of the graounds, tennis courts, gym, indoor and outdoor pools.  He gladly accepted along with a small stipend for himself and has now been with us for ten years.
     My first night back was great.  We all sat around and enhoyed Emily's fine strudelsa nd hot tea and then I decided to retire early.  I stayed in my chldhood room; things had not been changed since I went of to college.  My posters were still on the wall, trophies on the shelf over my dresser and everything was left untouched.  The room felt like that of a chld's htough and somehow I didn't feel like I belonged in ti anymore but for tonight it would have to do.  Tomorrow was going to be a busy day for me.  So much to look at, see what needed to be done and I was sure that Desmond woujld put me right back in the saddle.  I hadn't been able to ride much while away at school, this would be challenging.  With these thoughts in mind, I lay down on my double canopy bd and closed my eyes; it wasn't long before I was sleeping.
     The next morning I awoke to the sound of the ocean and the smell of salt air; I washome.  I could hear the gulls looking for theri morning catch and a wonderful aroma was drifing up the stairs.  I got up, stepped inot my slippers and robe and headed downstairs to the kitchen.
     The kitchen had a scent of fresh-baked bread and it lured me in.  "Good moring Miss" I heard Miss Emily say as I entered.
     "Smells wonderufl" I replied.
     She pured me a cup of fresh brewed coffee and I thanked her and took it to the porch to enjoy the morning air.  A short while later she announced that breakfast was served.  I went into the breakfast nook taht was built out of the backside of part of the wrap around porch so that we could enjoy the light ocean breeze in the moring.  In front of me were scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and chives, fried grits and a raisin scone.
     "Your spoing me" I state, "but that's okay, I like it, everything looks great."
     "Thank you " replied Miss Emily, "Will there be anyting else right now, Miss?"
     "no, thank you, this is wonderful."
     I finished my breakfast and went upstairs to get dressed for the day.
     It was wonderful to be home.  I spent most of the day waling the beach picking up little treasures, sat on the porcha dnr ead one fo the books out of the library for a bit and theaded down to the stables.  I had just gotten in from my riding lessons was ready to climb into a tub full of bubbles.  To soak these sore muscles seemed liek the best thing to do right now.
     I finished my lesson and walked Barney, the beautiful chestnut gelding, unsaddles him, cleaned and placed my tack in tis proper place in the stables and then spent a half na hour brushing him down before I came in.  It was now dusk and I was ready for bed, but still had lots to do tonight.  Even witht the housekeeper, groundskeeper and butler, it seemed like there was not much time to relaz.  I decided tonight that I would stay in my grandmother's room  I stared around as I got myself undressed.  Everyhting was picture perfect rigth down to the doorstop at my door with the brightly polished brass and shiny white stopper.
     I entered the bath and gazed at the marble and tile that shined back at me.  I stepped down into the Jacuzzi bath; the warm water was relaxing.  Plants surrounded the bath and the large picture window next to the tub overlooked the flower gardens, it was easy to loose yourself in thought.  I glanced out the window and caught a glimpse of Desmond removing his robe and getting ready to take a dip in the pool.  He was an enticing site with his bikini swim-trunks and exposed muscular body; I looked away toward the gardens to avoid anymore desires about Desmond.
     My thoughts drifted to my grandmother.  She loved her gardens, there were always fresh-picked flowers in the foyer and on the dining table.  Things are different now without her smile and tender voice at the end of a long day.  She had been in her eighties; still riding, gardening and telling stories that were fascinating.  I guess I never thought she would actually ever be gone; she was such a big part of my life.  I remember how she always knew the right things to say when I was feeling down, that comfort in her tone made everything all right.  Just as she was comforting she had firmness about her when she felt that we were not following the rules of life.  She had a way though of telling you that things were not to her satisfaction without ever really telling you.  She would start a conversation as if she knew every little detail about the mistakes you were making and somehow she would get ou to confess.  I never did figure out how she did this, but it worked.  Now I am sitting here in her room looking around and noticing that she is not really gone at all.  Her memory will always live on in these walls and her presence seems to fill the air.
     We have not changed a thing about her room.  The tall windows are still covered by the heavy read and gold paisley drapes layered with a sheer white curtain underneath that wisped as the wind blew threw the open windows. This room was beautifully decorated with antiques.  Victorian mahogany dresser topped with an oval wood-carved mirror stood on one wall; vanity with a similar style mirror was on another by the window seat.  The wardrobe on the opposite side of the room make me chuckle as I looked at it.  This was my favorite place to hide when I was a chld and it still looked larger than life to men ow with it's two large doors atop of the largest drawer I had ever seen.  I used to ask my grandmother if the drawer was made large because granpa had been a large man.  This made her laught quietly, seeing I had never actually met my grandpa, had only seen pictures of him and he looked like a great man.
     A step-up queen-size four-poster bed with the most beautiful head and footboards I had ever seen ws comforting at the end of a long day.  It had a beautiful laced ivory crochet canopy that made you feel like a princess when you lay down.  At each side of the bed were mahogany nightstands covered with lace dlilies and porcelain lamps.  The lamps had pictures on them of a Victorian lady sitting on a sofa chair.  They wree ivory and red in color with a red shade, and ivory lace cover over the shade.  A portrait of my grandmother adorned the wall over the wardrobe and various scenic pictures accented other areas of the room.
     The window seat was in a bay window that overlooked the ocean; the view wsa breathtaking from here.  At first I did not like climbing to the third floor of htis Victorian home but the view makes it all worth it.  Some mornings I'd find myself sitting here listening to the crash of the waves and caw of the gulls as they look for a morsel on the beach.  AS I sat here now in my terry robe the waves soothing sound drifted me off to my childhood days.
     Don't go to close to the water I would here my granmother say.  She worried about us so much, since the death of David I understood why.  We spent much of our time at the water builiding sandcastles and looking for beach treasure.  When the family would come over I would try to sell my shells and other findings, surprisingly, they always purchased something from me.
     It was getting late so I went to the vanity and picked up the gold bruahs iwth white soft brishtles and started to brush my hair.  Three hundred strokes every night I could hear my granmother saying.  When finished, I stepped into a lounging outfit so I could go down to the kitchen and have a light dinner before retiring for the evening.  I placed my long auburn hair up in a bun atop of my head and headed downstairs.
    
    

    

Incerpt to story

     It was a night like any toher. I had just gotten home from my riding lessons and was ready to climb into a tub full of bubbles.  To soak these sore muscles seemed like the best thing to do right now.  I stared around the room as I got myself undressed.  Everything was picture perfect right dwon tot he doorstop at my door with the brightly polished brass and shiny white stopper.  My grandmother always kept her house so spit spot sparkling.
     I entered the bath and gazed at the marble and tile that shined back at me.  I stepped down into the jacuzzin bath; the warm water felt really good.  Plants surrounded the bath and the large picture window next to the tub overlooked the flower gardens, it was easy to loose yourself in thought.
     My thoughts drifted to my grandmother.  She loved her gardens, there were always fresh-p9icked flowers int eh fowyer and on the dining table.  Things are different now without her smile and tender voice at the end of a long day.  She was in her eighties; still riding, still gardening and the stories she could tell were fascinating.  I guess I never thought she would actually ever be gone; she was such a big part of my life.  I remember how she would always have the right things to say to me when I was feeling down, that comfort in her tone that made everything all right. Just as she was comforting she also had firmness about her when she felt that we were not following the rules of the game of life.  She had a way though of telling you that things were not to her satisfaction without ever really telling you.  She would start a conversation as if she knew every little detail about the mistakes you were making and somehow she would get you to confess.  I never did figure out how she did this, but it worked.  Now I am sitting here in her room looking around and noticing that she is not really gone at all.  Her memory will always live on in these walls and her presence seems to fill the air.
     We have not changed a thing about her room.  The tall windows are still covered by the heavy red and gold paisley drapes layered with a sheer white curtain underneath that wishped as the wind blew threw the open windows.  This room was beautifully decorated with antiques.  Victorian mahogany dresser topped with an oval wood-carved mirror stood on one wall; vanity with a similar style mirror was on another by the window seat.  The wardrobe on the opposite side of the room made me chuckle as I looked at it.  This was my favorite place to hide when I was a child and it still looked larger than life to me now with it's tow large doors atop of the largest drawer I had ever seen.  I used to ask my grandmother if the drawer was made large because grandpa had been a large man.  This made her laugh quietly, seeing I had never actually met my grandpa, had only seen pictures of him and he looked like a great man.
     A step-up queen-size four-poster bed with the most beautiful head and footboards I had ever seen was comforting at the end of a long day.  It had a beautiful laced ivory crochet canopy that made you feel like a princess when you lay down.  At each side of the bed wer mahogany nightstands covered with lace doilies and porcelain lamps.  The lamps had pictures on them of a Victorian lady sitting on a sofa chair.  They were ivory and red in color with a red shade, and ivory lace cover over the shade.   A portrait of my grnadmother adorned the wll over the wardrobe and various scenic pictures accented other areas of the room.
     The window seat was in a bay window that overlooked the ocean' the view was breathtaking from here.  At first I did not like climbing to the third floor of this Victorian home but the view makes it all owrht it.. Some mornings I find myself sitting here listening to the crash of the waves and the caw of the gulls as they look for a morsel on the beach.  As I sat here this morning in my terry robe the waves soothing sound drifted me off to my childhood days.
     Don't go too close to the water I would hear my grandmother say.  She worried about us so much, since the death of  David was in I understood why.  He was only 12; loved to surf the waves and one day he didn't listen when he was told that the tide was high and the undertow was fierce.  It dragged him under before any of us even knew he was out there.  At first we thought he was playing games witrh us and hiding; then when he didn't come to lunch when called, we knew something was wrong.  Granma called the coast guard and a couple hours later they found his body, so frail and colorless, I didn't want to go near the water for a long time after that.
     David was a spry young lad, he loved to climb the rocks at the beach, surf the tide and look for ocean habitat when the tide went out.  Many an early morning you could hear him laughing as he ran through the water splashing and throwing crumpets to the gulls. He'd run
    
    

Cozy Cove Cavern

    "Listen Nana" I heard little Daisy yell across the lawn as she came flouncing at me bubbling over with excitement, "it's the bubbleheads, they are back!" "Oh, you mean Buffleheads, yes, they are back to welcome in winter with us" I listened and heard the rhythmic "crawk" as I saw two of them land on the shore nearby. "The rest of the flock will be here soon, it seems like they always send two out ahead of the rest". Daisy really didn't hear what I was telling her, she was too intent of trying to go down to the beach and try to sneak up on the ducks. She always had a fondness toward the fowl that came to visit us, even the seagulls, against my constent protest, she would sneak outdoors with cereal and toast and throw it out for them to come and eat. I found it very difficult to get upset over watching her eyes sparkle as they would all flock down fairly close to her and enjoy the tidbits she had thrown.
"Look Nana" she would say "they are all eating their breakfast like good birds, they can have desert later", and later they did, she would run down again and give them apple peels, potato peels, bread, pretty much anything that I wanted to throw away she would throw out to the gulls.
   This morning had started like any other. We had gotten up and had our breakfast and ventured outdoors to check the garden for last pickings for brussel sprouts and squash before the winter frost came and totally took our crop. Daisy loved to go out to the garden with me and pick vegetables and then we would walk the beach and find 'buried treasures' as she would call them.
   Daisy and I had spent our last three summers this way, watching the flocks of ducks, seagulls, an occasional loon, seal or whale in the waters and picking up beach treasures and making gifts for her to give on the holidays. She was now five years old and I didn't think this summer would be any different. We would start our morning off on the veranda watching the ocean sweep calmly on the shore, the morning fishermen going for the daily catch and then we'd get dressed and head out on our treasure hunt. Pail and shovel in hand she would stroll along wanting to pick up every little parcel of broken shell she found. I'd showed her how to look for the bubbles in the sand, search for sand dollars and try to get shells that were complete, however, we always managed to bring home a pail of pieces also which she would turn into mosaic art for the neighbors nearby. She'd put her artwork up for sale and managed to sell enough weekly to make at least two extra trips to the local ice cream shop.